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Vail and Vail Honeywagon partner on new program for cubside composting

Goal is to divert 80% of organic waste by 2030

The town of Vail is partnering with Vail Honeywagon to begin a curbside compost pilot program in select West Vail neighborhoods to collect and haul residential organic waste including food and yard waste.

Through this pilot program, Vail seeks to gather data and information on the viability of a town-wide curbside composting program and to evaluate the effect of such a program on the county-wide Climate Action Plan goal of diverting 80% of all organic waste from the landfill by 2030.

The pilot program will include up to 100 households in designated West Vail neighborhoods. The program will be open to West Vail residents who live along the valley floor from Sandstone to Arosa Drive on the north side of town and the Intermountain to Matterhorn neighborhood on the south side. West Vail neighborhoods above the valley floor will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must live in participating neighborhoods full time.



You get a special bucket

Participants will receive a 5-gallon locking bucket to place compostable materials in and two large yard waste bags. Compost will be collected weekly by Vail Honeywagon. Items accepted include all food waste, including meat and dairy products, yard waste, BPI-certified compostable serviceware, cups, bags and most natural fibers (paper towels, coffee filters, shredded paper, pizza boxes, etc.). The bucket for all food waste must be stored indoors or in a wildlife-resistant enclosure and placed out on the curbside only on the morning of service.

In accordance with town wildlife regulations, all compost must be placed on the curbside or identified pick-up location only on the morning of collection no later than 8 a.m. and brought back indoors by 7 p.m. All food waste must be in the locking bucket when placed on the curbside. If it is completely free of any food waste or food residue, yard waste can be placed at the curbside on collection day in paper yard waste bags or in a container no larger than 20 gallons in size.



A town-subsidized program

Vail is subsidizing the program by 50% for the duration of the pilot program, which will run through April 2022. The subsidized cost to residents is $8/month, billed quarterly. A limited number of homeowner associations and multi-family residences are also eligible. Pricing varies based on size of the complex. The town will subsidize 50% of the monthly fee to the HOA or multi-family unit up to $50 per month.

Vail recently adopted the Climate Action Plan 2020 Update for the Eagle County Community, which establishes a goal of a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, a 50% reduction by 2030 and 80% by 2050. As part of that goal, the plan establishes a 30% diversion rate of all waste going to the landfill by 2030 with at least 80% of organic waste, including food waste, yard waste and paper and cardboard materials, being diverted by 2030.

The 2018 Northwest Colorado Waste Diversion Study indicated that organic waste, including food and yard waste, makes up about 37% of all waste in the landfill. When organics break down in the anaerobic environment created in a landfill, they release methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas with an impact 25 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. The town of Vail achieved a 29% recycling rate with 3.7% of compostable materials being diverted.

Residents outside of the West Vail pilot program boundary interested in composting can enroll in a subscription compost service through Vail Honeywagon that provides access to a compost dumpster at the Vail recycling center. The goals of the pilot program are to increase participation in residential composting, increase diversion of organics to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and determine the program is feasible for the entire town.

For more information, go to http://www.lovevail.org/compost or call 970-476-3511 to enroll. For questions about the West Vail Curbside Compost Pilot program or other Vail sustainability initiatives, call Beth Markham, environmental sustainability coordinator at 970-479-2333 or email bmarkham@vailgov.com.


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