Vail announces Community Business Recycling Challenge

Town of Vail officials are looking to boost the town's recycling rates.
Chris Dillmann |

The town of Vail has announced the second Community Business Recycling Challenge.

The competition begins the week of July 27 and runs through the month of August. Entries are 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. Signups are being taken through Monday, July 20.

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

Seven local businesses participated in the inaugural Business Recycling Challenge in 2018. McNeill Property Management was the overall challenge winner with a final recycling rate of 84% and an average rate of 81%. 

The award for most innovative recycling education or diversion program was given to Vail Mountain School for the development of an experiential learning wall to help students learn what materials are recyclable and for expanding composting programs throughout the school. 

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Vail Spa Condominiums was selected as the winner of the most improved category, improving every week of the challenge from a baseline rate of 32% to a final recycling rate of 81% and a challenge average of 56%. 

“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,” she said.

The town of Vail currently has a 27% 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 composition 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 2020 Community Business Recycling Challenge include best overall recycler, 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 winner will host a custom engraved trophy that travels to each future challenge winner. 

Following the July 20 registration deadline, initial consultations and waste audits will take place the week of July 27.   

To sign up or for more information, email Nina Waysdorf at Walking Mountains Science Center at or call 970-827-9725 extension 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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