Plastic bag challenge gains momentum in Vail |

Plastic bag challenge gains momentum in Vail

Melanie Wong
Eagle County, CO Colorado
NWS Earth Day Bags DT 4-22-09

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Encouraged by a community-wide push to quit using plastic bags, Eagle-Vail resident Tricia Jacobs began bringing her own bags to the store.

“I hate having all those (plastic) bags around anyway, and this is good for the environment,” she said, unloading groceries onto the checkout counter at Vail’s Safeway.

She had several cloth bags, which she said she tries to keep in the car at all times.

“Besides, I like them better, they hold up better and the straps are nicer,” she said.

If you’ve noticed more cloth shopping bags around town, it’s probably thanks to the reusable bag reduction challenge spearheaded by the town of Vail.

Participating businesses report that over 16,222 reusable bags in Vail alone have been used so far during the challenge, which began in March. That equates to more than 48,500 plastic bags saved, said Kristin Bertuglia, the town’s environmental sustainability coordinator.

The challenge encourages customers to stop using non-biodegradable plastic bags in favor of reusable cloth bags. Stores up and down the valley are participating in the program, and the Vail Valley will compete with towns in Colorado to Idaho to see which can save the most bags.

The winner of the challenge will get a $5,000 grant from Alpine Bank to put a solar panel on a local elementary school.

As part of the campaign, about 1,000 cloth bags have been given away.

“The (program) has been great,” Bertuglia said. “We have a pledge that people can sign promising not to use plastic bags. A lot of people are really positive about it and asking cashiers about it.”

The town hopes to get more businesses participating in the program in the coming months, she said.

Edwards resident Marka Moser said she’s been using cloth bags for a few years now and has noticed that many more locals are toting them around the grocery store lately. Using cloth bags just makes sense, she said.

“If you look on the highway, all you see are the plastic bags flying around,” she said. “They sit around for ever. Using cloth bags is a little something everybody can do to help the environment.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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