Green is not just the color of money at three casinos in Tunica. It’s also the color of a new recycling and conservation program at Harrah’s Entertainment Mid-South Region’s Tunica properties, Grand, Horseshoe and Sheraton casinos. Recently kicked off by Harrah’s 400-strong Green Team members, company leaders expect the effort to divert 150 to 200 tons of waste per month from landfills.
“We are excited to begin our new recycling program here in Tunica,” said Bill Wright, general manager of the Harrah’s Tunica properties. “We hope our efforts within our three casino properties will positively impact the quality of life for generations to come and be a model for our community.”
Tunica County administrator Clifton Johnson also hopes Harrah’s program will lead others in the community to follow suit. “It’s a great idea what Harrah’s is doing in their new ‘Going Green’ program,” he said. “Their initiative has inspired us to research how Tunica County can start a project like this county wide.”
He added that the county currently has a trash pick-up program in place and works constantly to beautify the resort area and help the environment. They also plant trees, shrubs and flowers along the main roads and highways year round.
The effort to go green has been in the works for a long time for Harrah’s, according to Valerie Morris, regional director of communications and community affairs for the company.
“Fortunately when I approached others in the company about this program, they were already considering recycling and conserving for their own departments as well as all three casinos,” she said. “With efforts already in the works with many of my coworkers and a company that supports those efforts, our large scale recycling and conservation program was a natural fit. So we moved forward with instituting it.”
To launch the program’s first of three stages, members of the Green Team filled 40-yard compactors located behind the Horseshoe Casino with cardboard and paper. New industrial recycling bins will be used at each of the properties. Stage one includes the recycling of corrugated boxes; cardboard; and employee paper, glass, plastic and cardboard; along with a voluntary hotel conservation program for guests at Horseshoe.
Stage two began December 1 and includes Grand and Sheraton hotels conservation and employee area recycling bins for plastic, glass and aluminum. Stage three begins January 1, 2008, and will include recycling bins in employee and office areas for paper recycling and public area bins for recycling plastic, glass and aluminum.
Morris does not know if a green program will be started at Harrah’s other Mississippi property, Grand Casino Biloxi, but said the company is committed to the communities where it has operations.
“I can not speak for other Harrah’s properties, but the company as a whole is adopting a more environment friendly attitude,” she said, “so I foresee other properties rolling out plans next year as well.”
The Harrah’s recycling and conservation efforts in Tunica include technical optical reporting that helps conserve paper; power management settings implementation for computer and technical equipment; computer hardware recycling; use of eco-friendly vendors and lead-free manufacturers; and the switch from chemical treatment to ozone treatment for cooling towers to conserve water, electricity and the environment.
Additionally, the casino resorts installed paper conserving motion censored paper towel dispensers and water conserving sinks and toilets in bathrooms. All five of Harrah’s hotels in Tunica have replaced incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs to conserve energy.
Money received in the sale of recycled items will help fund Harrah’s Heart Fund which is available to employees in times of crisis.
“Harrah’s code of commitment is a commitment to our communities to help make them vibrant places to live and work,” Morris said. “Environmental recycling and conservation is a long-term, sustainable commitment to our environmental community.”
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at firstname.lastname@example.org.