Venetian, Palazzo help to keep used face masks out of landfills

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A bundle of 644 pounds of discarded surgical masks is packed up for recycling.
A bundle of 644 pounds of discarded surgical masks is packed up for recycling. Photo Credit: The Venetian

The Venetian and the Palazzo in Las Vegas are participating in a pilot program to keep used face masks out of landfills.

Discarded masks from guests and employees are collected on-site and sent to a recycling facility where they are separated, shredded and then processed into small, crumb-size pieces. They will eventually become used in products such as composite lumber for shipping pallets, decking and railroad ties.

"Our responsibility to the planet is one of our company's core values," said George Markantonis, president and COO of the Venetian Resort Las Vegas. "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."

The Venetian and Palazzo are teaming with TeraCycle on the project, which is part of the company's Sands ECO360 recycling efforts. The resorts sort their trash, diverting 27 types of items that would otherwise be sent to landfills. Through this program, between 55% and 60% of waste is diverted from local landfills, a number that far surpasses the national average of 32% or the state average of 23%, a spokesman said.

Company officials said they hope the project will help provide "proof of concept" for such recycling and encourage others to replicate the program. Consumer masks are typically not recycled through mainstream or curbside recycling programs because of the complexity of the recycling process.

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