Vail businesses bagging plastic |

Vail businesses bagging plastic

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – Customers at Blitz in Vail, Colorado have two choices – bag or no bag.

More often than not, customers at the village clothing store have opted to go without a bag, carrying their items out or sticking it in their handbags, said owner Barbara Smith.

“We always ask a customer if they want to skip a bag. We like being environmentally friendly, and people love it,” she said.

Smith said the store also has two weeks out of the year when they offer discounts for customers who skip bag and tissue paper.

“I had ladies come in and tell me that was so great,” Smith said. “They were saying that they never took a bag the whole time they were shopping around Vail. That’s great because it’s passing it on. Once they think about it, they realize they don’t need a bag.”

Blitz is one of many Vail businesses signed up to be a part of the Vail Valley’s reusable bag challenge, which encourages people to forgo plastic bags. The program is in friendly competition with other Colorado resort towns to see which community can eliminate the most plastic bags.

To date, participating businesses in Vail have diverted over 110,000 plastic bags, said Vail’s environmental sustainability coordinator Kristen Bertuglia, and the town is looking for more businesses to sign on.

The program has become a community effort as volunteers from the town of Vail, Millennium Bank and the Vail Rec District have been helping bag groceries, hand out reusable bags, and teach people how to get a bag discounts at the self-checkout lane, she said.

Some businesses are tailoring the program to fit their business, such as West Vail Liquor Mart. The store sells $2.99 reusable bags that are compartmentalized for bottles, and has all but eliminated plastic bags, said owner Laurie Mullen.

“We thought that as a business we could just do without them,” she said. “We get a lot of boxes and packaging, so we reuse a lot of those for people’s purchases – reusing is better even than recycling.”

For some purchases, the store uses paper bags, but given the choice, Mullen said many customers opt to go without bags.

“Now that the awareness has been raised, people are really trying to not use any kind of bag at all, even sometimes if it doesn’t look like they can handle it without a bag,” he said.

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

Participate in the reusable bag challenge by contacting Kristen Bertuglia at

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