Lodge eliminates thousands of water bottles in Vail Valley | VailDaily.com

Lodge eliminates thousands of water bottles in Vail Valley

Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyA card at the Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek explains how these bottles are washed, sanitized and then refilled with softened filtered water for guests in each room in an effort to cut down on the use of plastic water bottles at the hotel

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – Last year, Ron Neville and his Pines Lodge staff gave 16,000 plastic water bottles to their guests in Colorado’s Vail Valley.

Many of the bottles got recycled through the Beaver Creek hotel’s substantial recycling program, but many went to the trash, especially after guests carried them out of the hotel.

And it was artesian bottled water imported from Norway, aimed at the discriminating tastes of luxury guests.

Then there was the energy used to transport the recycling away from the hotel.

From an environmental standpoint, it didn’t make much sense, said Neville, general manager of the Beaver Creek hotel.

“The idea was, that’s ridiculous that we’re doing that,” he said.

So Neville and his colleagues came up with a simple way to eliminate water bottles and save energy. They are placing glass bottles of filtered tap water into guest rooms and the bottles are replenished twice a day. The Pines Lodge installed a filter system that they use to fill them with water.

Those bottles are for sale, and the hotel is also selling plastic, reusable water bottles that guests can take on the go.

It’s an idea that’s been successful at the hotel. Neville said he gets three or four positive comments a week from guests.

The program is being expanded to all of Vail Resorts’ hotels. It’s already up and running at the Osprey in Beaver Creek, and will soon start at the Arrabelle at Vail Square and the Lodge at Vail.

By the time it is fully implemented this summer in all 20 of Vail Resorts’ hotels, it will stop 640,000 plastic bottles from entering the waste stream, said Julie Klein, director of environmental affairs fof Vail Resorts Hospitality. That equates to 4,000 barrels of oil per year that would be required to manufacture and ship the plastic bottles.

The Pines Lodge is selling the glass bottles for $8. Plastic, BPA-free bottles are also available for $4.

It’s a simple idea that helps the environment and actually saves Vail Resorts a little bit of money, too. The Pines Lodge expects to see its investment returned to them within a year, Neville said.

And it is not an idea that Vail Resorts wants to keep to itself. It’s sharing ideas with other hotels through a Vail Valley Partnership lodging committee.

“We hope people copy us,” Klein said.

The program has been successful not only with guests but also hotel employees, Neville said.

“Our staff lives here because we’re in the Rocky Mountains,” Neville said. “We’re into the environment. We all don’t want to see something destroying the environment. The staff was a big driver to make this happen.”

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.

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