Six Flags in the red goes for green

- It's a sure sign of summer around these parts when I start getting announcements about green initiatives emerging from those bastions of summer vacations: amusement parks.

Six Flags announced a new, company-wide green initiative that aims to reduce the impact and waste of its 20 theme parks in the U.S. Canada and Mexico.

It's a broad list of projects, and spans a good deal of the park's operations:

• Harnessing the magic of the Six Flags dining experience, all vehicles and trains that currently run on diesel fuel will be switched over to run on used vegetable oil generated in the food courts of the company's theme parks;

• Six Flags theme parks are also switching over to LED lamps and lighting as a way to cut energy use (earlier the company finished the conversion of its famed Big Wheel at the Six Flags Great Adventure to LEDs);

• The company is ramping up its recycling efforts as well; in addition boosting paper recycling programs, Six Flags has partnered with Coca-Cola to add more than 3,000 recycle bins in the amusement parks;

• Water-saving efforts at Six Flags parks include the addition of low-flow water fixtures and plants and groundcover on park grounds that reduce the need for watering;

• Finally and least concretely, Six Flags is exploring the possibility of installing solar energy facilities on land surrounding some parks to power the roller coasters, rides, and buildings.

I'm still awaiting word from Six Flags on some more details of the project (will the roller coasters also be powered by greasel? Will that make the parks smell even more like french fries?), but what I love most about this is how it so perfectly illustrates one of our key principles of the benefits of green business practices: saving money.

Earlier, Six Flags filed for bankruptcy, seeking Chapter 11 protection as it manages its debt load. And each of these green initiatives, while trimming waste, emissions and the company's overall footprint, will also likely save Six Flags a significant amount of money.

As we've seen in coverage on GreenBiz.com, businesses and cities alike have saved millions of dollars in electricity costs through LED upgrades. And using vegetable oil for fuel has long since moved from the domain of road-tripping hippies into a regular feature in restaurants.

And don't even get me started on how recycling helps companies.



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