Disney Is Redefining the World of Trash

trash at Disney World
Credit: Disney

When Walt Disney was designing Disneyland in California, he wanted to make sure it was the happiest but also the cleanest place on Earth. Disney researched human behavior to determine that the average person would walk 30 feet before dropping their trash on the ground. So, Walt instructed all his Park designers that there should be at least one trash can every 30 feet in the Parks.

But having that many trash cans was not aesthetically pleasing, so Walt Disney ensured that all the fans fit perfectly into the Lands where they would be located. But still, that’s a lot of trash cans. Frontier Land in the Magic Kingdom alone has more than 130 trash cans.

Trash at Disney World

If Walt spent that much time thinking about garbage in the 1950s, you could imagine how much time Disney Parks feels about it now. Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President of Animals, Science and the Environment for Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, talked to USA Today about some of Disney’s initiatives to deal with waste across all its Theme Parks.

It is fascinating to think about how Disney deals with the 441 tons of trash produced by Guests daily at the Walt Disney World Resort. The Walt Disney Company has taken an aggressive approach to recycling, water management, and environmental protection to ensure that its Parks are clean and will be around for the next generation.

Disney has created a machine that breaks glass into its original state: sand. That sand is then used throughout the Parks to replenish beaches and roads.

trash at Disney World

Cast Member at Restaurantosauros. Credit: USA Today

At Restaurantosauros in Animal Kingdom, Disney is working on a pilot program to redefine how the Parks reuse and reduce waste. Penning told USA Today:

The guest gets a plate and a knife and a fork, all of which is compostable, along with food. If there are any food scraps, it all goes together and that is composted. The compost then fertilizes landscaping around the restaurant and gives the park a chance to show guests what they can do at home. 

Disney has also turned old plastic bottles into Cast Members’ uniforms at Restaurantosauros.

At the Disney World Resort, there are three weather stations that are constantly monitoring data. When it rains, as it often does on those humid Florida afternoons, Disney is able to use that data to help collect the rainwater, which is then used throughout the Parks. Penning estimates that 80 percent of Disney World’s water usage comes from reclaimed wastewater.

Trash at Disney World

Credit: Walt Disney Company

Disney has set the ambitious goal of being net zero emissions and sending zero garbage to landfills by 2030. With an outstanding program of recycling and rainwater collection, Disney is off to a great start.

As Walt Disney himself put it

Conservation isn’t just the business of a few people. It’s a matter that concerns all of us … The natural resources of our vast continent are not inexhaustible. But if we use our riches wisely, if we will protect our wildlife and preserve our lakes and streams, these things will last for generations to come.

We will continue to update this story at Disney Fanatic


About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.