Welcome to Recycling

Amy Kozlowski Finds Artwork While Sorting Through Recycling
Amy Kozlowski Finds Artwork While Sorting Through Recycling

 

Four sorters, forty trash bags and a bail of cardboard. The day begins for the Grand Teton Lodge Company (GTLC) Recycling Department. “We start out at Jackson Lake Lodge, pick up cardboard from the back dock and the kitchen recycling. The Blue Heron has a bunch of bottles, so we pick up all that,” said Amy Kozlowski, GTLC Recycling Attendant. The crew also picks up recycling at Colter Bay Village, Jenny Lake Lodge, Gros Ventre Campground and Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis.   “Then we come back in the afternoon and bail our cardboard in the big bailer. Right now we have about 40 bails of cardboard, we get one everyday at least.”

 

The Bailer
The Bailer

 

Kozlowski is a second year Recycling Attendant. “I have maintenance experience on my resume so Engineering called and said they have openings for recycling,” said Kozlowski. “I said that would be awesome because I really like to be green and I’m very concerned about the environment, so I jumped on that right away.”

Recycling and waste reduction continues to be the hallmark of Grand Teton Lodge Company’s sustainable operations and the direct link to our green house gas emission reductions. Recycle, reduce, reuse is considered in every aspect to lessen our impacts on the environment.

Yet sorting through recycling bags is no easy task. A lot of trash and other items end up in recycling.  The department takes glass, aluminum, tin, paper and corrugated cardboard—but not paperboard. “All recycling we sort through goes to Jackson, so we can only recycle what they recycle in town.”

Since 2005 more than 600,000 single-use bottles have been saved from landfills.
We have installed bulk dispensers for shampoo, soap and lotion in all Jackson Lake Lodge and Colter Bay Village Rooms. Our goal is to continue a minimum 50 percent diversion rate by recycling materials within our waste system. 

All sorts of treasures have ended up in recycling and the department is outfitted in gloves and eye protection while sorting. “We find some cool stuff that we can keep. We’ve found an inflatable raft and a lot of times people throw away magazines and books so we get to keep those.”

In 2008, GTLC recycled 229,587 total pounds of material, including 116,800 pounds of cardboard and 63,000 pounds of glass. This does not include the materials from our Jackson Lake Lodge renovation project, which had a 97 percent diversion rate. 

 

Just Some of the Bailed Cardboard
Just Some of the Bailed Cardboard

 

“We can do only as much as the people give us,” said Kozlowski. “I see people all the time throwing stuff into the trash that’s recycling.” Recycling awareness is one of the department’s biggest tasks. Work gets divvied up between four attendants and no one argues, they just get it done. “We get to be outside in a beautiful place and be doing something you can feel really good about.”

The Recycling Department continues to get the word out, hoping that every recyclable item will not end up in the trash, but rather the recycling bins.

“It’s something I can feel really good about when I go home,” said Kozlowski. “I know that what we are doing is helping a lot of efforts.  I think if I was working anywhere else I would feel guilty that I wasn’t working in recycling.”

Welcome to the Grounds

Paula Sharpe Prunes on the Back Terrace
Paula Sharpe Prunes the West Terrace of Jackson Lake Lodge

 

“I love everything about the job. Being outside, the plants, the physical labor, making everything look nice,” said Paula Sharpe, Grand Teton Lodge Company (GTLC) Grounds Crew member. Sharpe joined GTLC 11 year ago and has greatly contributed to the outdoor appearance of our lodges.

For the last six years, Sharpe has been charting noxious weed growth on propety. “I figured if I left we don’t have documentation, so I made maps of each area,” said Sharpe, a licensed herbicide technician. Every year she documents the weed she is targeting and whether it has increased or decreased. “Someone can come along after me and know where to find these weeds.”

As for Sharpe, this information is all in her head. She has the ability to go over to Colter Bay Village and show you exactly where one weed grows. “I figured no one else would be able to do that, so you can just open map books and say, ‘oh yah, Dalmatian Toadflax grows here, better check that out.’” Comparing the charts from over the years, Sharpe has noticed a difference, with noxious weeds on the decline. The Grounds Crew also documents every ounce of chemical-use, as it all must be approved by the Park Service.

Arriving at 7:30am, Sharpe plants and maintains 68 containers of flowers. She waters and feeds the plants, which also happen to be a favorite meal of the Whistle Pig. “Right now I am cleaning up the West Terrace. Pruning everything back and getting it ready for the wedding next week, I want it to look really nice.”

Up keeping Jenny Lake Lodge, Jackson Lake Lodge, Colter Bay Village and Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis can be quite the endeavor. Still, the Grounds Crew continues to meet its goals. One goal has been to restore a man-made trail to its original habitat. “When we first started there were trails that went all the way to the bottom area at Jackson Lake Lodge. People had walked down there and killed all the vegetation, thinking it was a trail,” said Sharpe. “Then it rained and everything washed away, so the trail was deep.” The crew filled in this area leading down to Willow Flats and closed all the trails, reverting guests to the designated paved paths. With time all the vegetation has grown back.

Sharpe makes an apparent difference at GTLC. Gardening is something that yields rewarding results. “Every year I gather the seeds from the native wildflowers and throw them out there and if you come back later you will see a lot of these wildflowers are growing,” declared Sharpe. “It’s just exciting, to know that I had a hand in that.”

Exuding a genuine enthusiasm for her work, Sharpe stated, “I do this because I enjoy it.  People come by and say don’t work too hard.  I’m not working, I’m playing.”