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Xanterra Launches “Choose To Be Straw Free” Campaign On Earth Day

Roll Out Will Start with Lodges in National Parks/Resorts In Historic Locations
-500 Million Drinking Straws Are Thrown Out Every Day-

DENVER(April 17, 2013) – According to Milo Cress, an 11- year old middle school student and enthusiastic environmentalist, an estimated 500 million drinking straws – enough to fill 46,400 school buses annually – are discarded every day. Unfortunately, many don’t even make it to the landfills.

That’s why Xanterra, operator of tourism entities worldwide, is launching a “Choose to be Straw Free” program on Earth Day, April 22. This is the latest in a yearlong series of sustainability initiatives that have earned the company worldwide recognition for its “Legendary Hospitality with a softer footprint.”

The campaign will roll out initially at Zion Lodge in Zion National Park, Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va.; Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Ariz., Grand Canyon South Rim inside Grand Canyon National Park, The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz. and Painted Desert Oasis in Petrified Forest National Park.

“We are using the straw to illustrate the choices we all have before us to make a difference every day,” said Catherine Greener, vice president of sustainability for Xanterra. Guests don’t have to agree, but Greener believes that many will volunteer to go straw free.

Milo, who hails from Boulder, Colo., observed at a young age that many restaurants automatically bring patrons cold drinks with straws, which sometimes go unused and end up in the garbage with other solid waste. To create an impact, Milo contacted companies to change policy, and Xanterra was among the first to take action.

Building on an existing straw-free sustainability initiative at Xanterra’s lodges, restaurants and attractions in Yellowstone National Park, the following properties will also go straw free: Windstar Cruises, Crater Lake, Rocky Mountain National Parks, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park and five Ohio State Park Lodges.

Reducing solid waste has long been an area of special focus for Xanterra. The company generates some 32 percent less solid waste now than it did 10 years ago.

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