What happens in Vegas….is community outreach

What happens in Vegas…is more sustainable than you know.

Part 3 of a 3 part blog series.

Like sustainability, I believe that visiting Vegas is also a journey, not just a destination. The city is never the same when you go back. Las Vegas constantly evolves to keep up with its attractiveness and appeal. Strangely, I am relating Las Vegas to the term sustainability because anyone involved with it knows that in order to be sustainable, you are also creatively evolving in innovation, collaboration and opportunity.

The Las Vegas Sands works with several community organizations to not only reduce waste from its properties, but to support the lives of people locally and globally.

Do you feel bad for leaving behind your half used bar of soap or almost empty shampoo bottle? You don’t have to anymore. All of the unused soap in the guest rooms gets recycled into new soap and gets donated to people in other countries through the Clean the World Foundation of Florida. In one year, the Venetian|Palazzo donated enough unused soap bars and shampoo bottles to make about 500,000 bars of soap. With 7,100 guest rooms, that’s a whole lot of suds! You can learn more the organization at Clean the World. Here is an article from Vegas Magazine about the organization, Clean the World: Recycling Soap to Save Lives.

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Linens that get stained or torn have the chance to be repurposed into rags by people at Opportunity Village. Opportunity Village, founded in 1954, is a non-for-profit organization in Las Vegas that serves more than 3,000 people with intellectual and related disabilities. The organization provides vocational training, community employment, arts and social recreation and more. You can learn more about the organization at Opportunity Village.

Employee engagement for sustainable practices is an important action plan for this property. With 10,000 employees, they strive to make an impact to encourage recycling, waste reduction, and community outreach. Pranav took me into the Staff Member Only tunnels to share some of the employee initiatives. Most of the initiatives are focused on recycling, giving employees the opportunity in offices, break rooms and cafeterias.

Club Ride, a free sustainable transportation program through the RTC Transit in Southern Nevada encourages employees to carpool, take mass transit, bike, walk, etc. to work. As a member of Club Ride, employees earn points for using a sustainable transportation method and every month have the opportunity to earn $25 gift cards or logo merchandise. Winners are posted on announcement boards.

The employees have really embraced their role in community outreach. Recently, they had collected more than 15,000 cans to donate to Three Square Food Bank, which benefits more than 1,300 partner sites. The partner sites include soup kitchens, shelters, after-school programs and more. A Clean Plate Challenge also encourages employees to only take what they will finish eating on their plate. There are about 7,000-8,000 employees that eat meals on property every day. The leftover, unserved food also gets donated to Three Square Food Bank to be distributed in the community. Visit Three Square Food Bank to learn more.

Surprisingly enough, Las Vegas, among all its crazy, is actually a lot greener than you know, especially by now if you’ve read all my blog posts on it. As another example, a lot of the resorts on The Strip participate in Earth Hour in March, when they turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a statement for energy. You can watch the 2014 Earth Hour video, which includes many of the cities that participated. Earth Hour was started in 2007 and is supported by the WWF to bring awareness to energy usage.

The next step in employee engagement at the Venetian|Palazzo will include further involvement with recycling and waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation and continuing education.

I’d like to thank Pranav Jampani, Assistant Director of Sustainability, for taking the time to share all the sustainable initiatives at the Las Vegas Sands. 

Learn more about Sands Eco 360.

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the author

Originally from Virginia, Jennifer C. Sellers is passionate about sustainability and conservation in South Carolina and throughout the world. She earned her BA in English from Coastal Carolina University and her MAS in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver. She is a university sustainability coordinator that implements programs and teaches people about going green and being sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @MyGreenGlasses

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