Vail Business Recycling Challenge returns |

Vail Business Recycling Challenge returns

Challenge includes free training, three award categories

The town of Vail has announced the third annual Business Recycling Challenge. The challenge includes free customized training, progress reports and bragging rights in three award categories.

The competition begins the week of Aug. 30, runs through the month of September and is available to the first 20 businesses that register. Retail stores, restaurants, bars, lodges, offices and all other Vail business license holders are eligible to participate. Sign-ups are being taken through Monday, Aug. 30.

Hosted by the town’s environmental sustainability department in partnership with Walking Mountains Science Center, competitors will receive an initial waste audit and education session to learn about recycling and composting best practices and specific workplace ideas for their unique business. Each competitor will receive a random weekly audit during the challenge to measure progress.

Nine local businesses participated in the 2020 Business Recycling Challenge and collectively diverted 70% of their waste from the landfill. Slifer, Smith & Frampton Real Estate’s Bridge Street office was the overall challenge winner for small businesses participating with a final diversion rate of 98%.

The Sonnenalp Hotel was the overall challenge winner for large businesses participating with a final diversion rate of 84%. The award for most creativity and engagement in waste diversion programs was given to McNeill Property Management.

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Betty Ford Alpine Gardens was selected as the winner of the cleanest recycling stream of all competitors and the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District earned the Cleanest Compost award.

“The Recycling Challenge was a great experience that generated excitement with a little friendly competition,” said Cassandra MacUmber, assistant general manager of Vail Spa Condominiums. “The audits brought to light things people probably didn’t know about as to what they could recycle and created an opportunity for all of us on the property to ask the experts about recycling.”

The town of Vail currently has a 29% recycling rate compared to the national average of 35%. The goals of the challenge are to improve education and participation in recycling efforts. According to a 2017 landfill study, 20.3% of the material entering the Eagle County Landfill could be recycled through existing local programs. This shows that while the community has made progress in recycling there is still improvement to be made.

Award categories for the 2021 Business Recycling Challenge include best overall recycler for large and small businesses, most improved and the best or most innovative education or diversion program. Winners will receive a free training and one year of membership to the Actively Green business certification program. The overall winners will host custom engraved trophies that travel to future challenge winners.

Beth Markham, environmental sustainability coordinator, says the town is excited to continue the challenge and to help educate the business community on the value of recycling.

“Recycling continues to be one of the easiest ways for all of us to get involved and make an immediate difference in community environmental efforts from waste reduction to climate change action, and supporting local sustainable destination efforts,” Markham said.

Following the Aug. 30 registration deadline, initial consultations and waste audits will take place that week.

For more information, email Nina Waysdorf at Walking Mountains Science Center, or call 970-827-9725 ext. 141. For more information on the town of Vail recycling and sustainability initiatives, call Beth Markham, 970-479-2333 or email

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