LAS VEGAS — The Venetian Resort announced this week the expansion of its Sands ECO360 recycling efforts as the first Las Vegas-based property, and one of the first in the country, to develop a program to recycle surgical face masks, which are being used by guests and resort employees as part of its Venetian Clean initiatives.
As part of this pilot project, in partnership with TerraCycle, the discarded 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.
Since re-opening in June, The Venetian Resort began diverting discarded surgical face masks from other waste being sent to landfills through a 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 surpasses the national average of 32 percent and 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,” said George Markantonis, president and COO of The Venetian Resort Las Vegas.
This project, part of the company’s Sands ECO360 initiative, will help provide “proof of concept” to encourage others to replicate the program. Currently, consumer masks are not recycled through mainstream or curbside recycling programs due to the complexity of the recycling process. Surgical face masks are made of multiple materials and need to be sorted and separated before recycling; a magnet is used to separate the metal nose strips, which can be melted and used in other recycled materials.
“Our responsibility to the planet is one of our company’s core values,” said Markantonis. “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.”