Taking Action for Earth Day

How Meow Wolf has become more green.

It’s April and that means we’re once again celebrating our beautiful planet for Earth Day! This year’s theme is “Restore our Earth” which focuses on restorative actions that make Earth a safer, healthier and more equitable place to live.

Established April 22, 1970, Earth Day has become a global movement with more than 1 billion people in 192 countries now participating in activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. It’s incredible how a simple day can grow into a movement of millions dedicated towards building and maintaining a sustainable future.

Today, I invite you to be a part of Earth Day and to help further climate action across the globe. It’s time to step up. It’s time to make a change.

Meow Wolf in Action

As a Certified B Corporation, Meow Wolf is committed to protecting and preserving our planet through responsible stewardship.

One of the largest things we do for the environment is collaborate with our B Corp community as a member of the B Corp Climate Collective. Together we share best practices, advocate for policy reform, engage our employees and develop a message for the business case for conservation.

As a growing startup, we face many challenges making our business sustainable. We face these challenges head on and strive to implement creative solutions to make our business more green. We definitely have work to do, but are proud to be making progress to establish a more robust sustainability program. We are focusing on the following areas:

  • Responsible Materials & Sourcing
  • Fossil Fuel Reduction
  • Water Conservation
  • Waste Diversion
  • Environmental Justice

Responsible Sourcing & Materials

We build exciting and explorable art exhibitions, and we believe that the materials we use and where they come from matter. This is a big area of focus for us, and our team is currently working to establish several key policies to drive and track this effort.

Our efforts include:

  • Establishing local vendor policies to increase local products.
  • Creating supplier screening mechanisms for environmental performance.
  • Selecting green materials when building our exhibitions.
  • Eliminated the use of single polybags for 90%+ of product shipments.
  • Shifted ecom mailers to 100% post consumer recycled envelope materials.
  • Replaced use of bubble wrap and foam peanuts packing materials with leftover newspaper grade packing paper supplied by the Santa Fe New Mexican.
  • Recycling our steel scraps, acrylic plastic scraps, and other material offcuts are made available for reuse by staff, or through recycled art making.

Fossil Fuel Reduction

Our focus on fossil fuel reduction takes into account our company direct emissions from electricity generation and our fleet of vehicles. This year, our goal is to measure our Scope 1 GHG emissions, while taking action to reduce our carbon footprint.

We have implemented several energy saving measures at all of our facilities, including:

  • Created policy to purchase energy star rated and energy saving appliances.
  • Installed energy efficient lighting, including 99% LED in our exhibitions.
  • Turning the “show” off whenever we are closed to save energy.
  • Purchased 50% of merchandise in 2019 from local suppliers and artists to decrease energy used during transportation.
  • Converted vinyl sticker hang-tags to FSC certified recycled paper with soy inks.
  • Utilize motion detectors at our facilities so lights turn off automatically.
  • Installed solar panels at Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return in 2017
  • In 2020, we produced 173,000 KwH of electricity through solar
  • Stopped 122 Metric Tons of Carbon from entering our atmosphere

Meow Wolf's green project of installing solar panels at the Santa Fe LLC

Water Conservation

We’re headquartered in the desert and have firsthand knowledge of how precious water is to our people and the land. Though we’ve grown rapidly, Meow Wolf has been able to decrease our water usage through a series of targeted measures.

In total, we have reduced our water use by 20% over traditional methods since implementing these changes.

  • Installed low-flow faucets and toilets, and waterless urinals.
  • Artificial turf wherever possible on the exterior of our facility.
  • Water continuous landscaping through native and drought tolerant plants.
  • Water refill stations at our facilities and offices.
  • Keeping our water clean by using a flocculant to settle out solid paint. The remaining liquid is evaporated, so no paint goes down the drain. This process reduces our paint waste volume by 90%.

Waste Diversion

It starts with reduce, reuse and recycle. Meow Wolf is actively working on projects that can get us back to our dumpster diving roots, and tracking and reducing our waste. We’re interested in building a closed loop system, but have some work to get there.

Here are some of our actions:

  • 100% recyclable and reusable serving materials at our exhibitions.
  • Recycling receptacles with labeled instructions at our offices and facilities
  • Eliminated the use of single polybags for 90%+ of product shipments.
  • Measuring our daily waste to benchmark and set reduction targets.
  • Creating art with found, reclaimed and recycled materials, and setting goals for our future exhibitions to reuse materials.

Environmental Justice

Through all of our efforts to be a more green company, we recognize that to be successful in our efforts we must center all climate action and advocacy in people and justice.

We are taking this into action by:

  • Centering the voices of historically marginalized people and diverse lived experiences.
  • Expecting the journey to be non-linear and full of learning.
  • Advocating with non-profit organizations who focus on climate justice.
  • Slowing down to ensure that community voices are heard and listened to.
  • Hosting community partners and speakers for learning sessions for our team.
  • Incorporating the Climate Justice Playbook into our practices.

Trash Temple Installation by Corinne Loperfido at Meow Wolf
Trash Temple Installation by Corinne Loperfido at Meow Wolf

What can you do?

It’s up to all of us to take action today and everyday to build a more sustainable future. Here are a few things we can all do to make our communities safer and our planet a better place.

While we have made some strides, we know there is always more work to be done to support a more sustainable world. Meow Wolf will take all of these environmental efforts to our new locations in Las Vegas and Denver, as well.

We know just how easy it is to maintain the status quo, but Meow Wolf strives to use our B-Corp resources to change the status quo. We only have one Earth. We’re dedicated to protecting her.

You can read more about our progress toward becoming a more sustainable company in our 2020 Earth Day article.