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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA Recognizes Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians for Zero Waste and Recycling Accomplishments

Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (

SANTA YNEZ, Calif. – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and Chumash Casino Resort for its outstanding efforts in recycling, food recovery and moving toward Zero Waste. EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest Mike Stoker toured the Chumash Casino Resort to celebrate their green leadership during America Recycles Week.

“The Chumash Casino Resort’s Zero Waste initiatives are making a real difference for the environment,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “By diverting more than 90% of their total waste stream from landfills and sharing their expertise with other tribes, they are true recycling champions.”

“It’s an honor for our tribe to be recognized by the EPA during America Recycles Week,” said Kenneth Kahn, Tribal Chairman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “By forming local partnerships and participating in innovative programs, our Chumash Casino Resort’s Facilities Department has taken our recycling efforts to new heights. We are proud of our team’s ongoing campaign to further reduce our waste stream and its ability to be an industry leader for recycling in California Indian Gaming.”

In 2018, the Chumash Casino Resort diverted 2,922,307 pounds of waste, representing over 90% of its overall waste stream, from local landfills through their successful Zero Waste program. To reach this ambitious target, the Chumash Casino Resort has formed both local and national partnerships and participated in several innovative programs to complement its extensive in-house recycling efforts.

The Chumash Casino Resort has won several EPA awards, including the Food Recovery Challenge award in 2014 and 2016. The EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge partners with over 1,000 organizations and businesses to prevent and reduce wasted food. The program saves money, helps communities reduce hunger, and protects the environment by purchasing less, donating extra food and composting. In 2018, the Chumash Casino Resort donated more than four tons – 8,478 pounds – of food to Veggie Rescue to improve the nutrition and quality of life for community members struggling with food insecurity by providing healthy meals.

The Chumash Casino Resort has also been an EPA WasteWise partner since 2008 and has received national WasteWise Partner of the Year awards in 2012 and 2015. The WasteWise program helps organizations and businesses apply sustainable materials management practices to reduce municipal and industrial wastes.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians owns and operates the Chumash Casino Resort, which is located on the tribe’s reservation on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, California.

For more information on joining America Recycles efforts, please visit:

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