Forget plastic bans: Mountain towns try volunteerism, bootcamps as solutions to single-use

Tamara Chuang
The Colorado Sun
In 2017, 650 Adopt a Trail volunteers invested 2,210 total hours into the program. There are more than 500 nonprofits in Eagle County, and volunteering is a way to get involved in the community.
Daily file photo

The sister towns of Telluride and Mountain Village bagged plans to ban plastic straws after learning about an arcane Colorado law preventing municipalities from doing so.

But that hasn’t stopped the resort communities from searching for alternatives to single-use plastics — or even recycling.

The two towns, separated by a free gondola ride, feel the problem is one they can solve. They’re supporting efforts like the Telluride Venture Accelerator, which this week kicked off a two-week program to help startups in the plastics-alternative market.

The goal?

“We want solutions,” said Ashley Nager, its program director. “We want to galvanize the community around this issue. It’s already there but we want to create more awareness of the companies that already have solutions.”

Support Local Journalism

Recycling has long been the mantra to protect Earth’s natural resources for humanity. But programs to divert reusable waste from the landfill hit a snag last year when China stopped accepting much of the world’s recyclables in order to clean up its own country. That, in turn, caused some cities to suspend recycling programs or, like Philadelphia, resort to burning half of the recycling collected. In Colorado, many waste companies raised fees last year and had to hunt for new buyers outside of China who would actually recycle recyclables.

Read the full story via The Colorado Sun.

The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported news organization dedicated to covering the people, places and policies that matter in Colorado. Read more, sign up for free newsletters and subscribe at

Support Local Journalism