The Venetian Resort is expanding Sands ECO360 recycling efforts as the first Las Vegas-based property, and one of the first in the nation, to develop a program to recycle surgical face masks, which are being used by guests and team members as part of the resort’s Venetian Clean initiatives.
As part of this pilot project, in partnership with TerraCycle, the discarded face masks are collected on-site at The Venetian Resort and sent to a recycling facility where they are separated, shredded and densified into a crumb-like raw material. This material will be used to make repurposed products such as composite lumber for shipping pallets, railroad ties and composite decking.
“Our responsibility to the planet is one of our company’s core values,” stated George Markantonis, president and COO of The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, in a statement. “Our Sands ECO360 global sustainability initiative was designed to help minimize our environmental impact, and it reflects our vision as a leader in sustainable resort operations. We continue our journey to a more sustainable future as we seek innovative environmental solutions.”
“At TerraCycle, our mission has always been to eliminate waste, recycle the unrecyclable and use our innovative business solutions to minimize human impact on the planet,” said TerraCycle Founder and CEO Tom Szaky. “It’s through partnerships like the one we enjoy with The Venetian Resort that allows us to fulfill our objective and help preserve the environment for future generations.”
Since re-opening in June, The Venetian Resort began diverting discarded surgical face masks from other waste being sent to landfills, through an industry-leading trash-sorting initiative that takes place on property.
In addition to this program, the resort actively sorts its trash, diverting 27 types of items that would otherwise be sent to landfills. Through this program, between 55-60 percent of waste is diverted from local landfills, a number that far surpasses the national average of 32 percent or the state average of 23 percent.
“As a company that has put sustainability in the forefront of our operation, it was important to find a recycling solution for this PPE, to avoid sending them to our landfills,” continued Markantonis.
This project, part of the company’s Sands ECO360 initiative, will help provide “proof of concept” for such recycling, to encourage others to replicate the program. Currently, consumer masks are not recycled through main-stream or curbside recycling programs due to the complexity of the recycling process. Surgical face masks are made of a multitude of materials and need to be sorted and separated before recycling. In addition, a magnet is used to separate the metal nose strips, which can be melted and utilized in other recycled materials.