The Chumash Casino Resort announced last week it was named the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 WasteWise Tribal Partner of the Year. The casino, owned and operated by the Santa Ynez Valley Band of Chumash Indians, was among 15 businesses and organizations across the country the EPA honored on January 21 for “outstanding leadership in waste prevention and diversion, as measured in 2014,” read the resort’s February 2 press release. This was the second such accomplishment for the casino, which won the award for the first time in 2012.
Ten years ago, the Chumash Casino generated 380,000 pounds of trash every month and recycled 3 percent, said the press release. According to resort custodial services manager Mark Funkhouser, the number has dropped to 300,000, with almost two-thirds being recycled. “We’re honored that the EPA has recognized Chumash Casino Resort for our efforts to reduce waste,” said Tribal Chairman of the Santa Ynez Valley Band of Chumash Indians Vincent Armenta. “Our facilities department has made great strides in recent years, and its goal to make Chumash Casino Resort a zero-waste facility by 2019 is within reach.”
The casino had previously joined the EPA’s WasteWise program and began setting annual goals to reduce waste. Since 1994, the federal program has helped its partners implement sustainable waste management.