Vail Daily’s View: Progress beyond plastic bags |

Vail Daily’s View: Progress beyond plastic bags

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail, CO, Colorado

Not every Vail Valley homeowner can afford to install solar panels or hydroelectric power. And the current generation of hybrid cars just isn’t that practical in the mountains, especially for big families, ranchers or people who haul lots of recreational equipment around.

But if that sounds like you, there are still plenty of things you can do to take better care of the planet, such as dropping off your recycling and participating in the cloth grocery bag contest Vail and other local towns have just joined.

Avon, Gypsum and Eagle also have joined a few dozen other ski towns in the “Plastic Bag Reduction Challenge,” which runs from March 1 to Sept. 1. The towns, community groups and stores will pass out reusable bags. The winner gets a grant from Alpine Bank to install solar panels on a local school.

The knock on plastic bags, of course, is that they are generally used once and then sent to the landfill, where they disintegrate into tinier and tinier particles over the next 2 million or so centuries.

Bringing cloth grocery bags to the supermarket, then, is a pretty painless way to change our behavior on behalf of our children, our children’s children, our children’s children’s children and so on.

This minor commitment to cloth should continue after the excitement of the contest ebbs. While a bill to ban plastic bags statewide recently died in Denver, Aspen is seriously considering charging people a fee when they insist on using plastic bags.

Trying to legislate better habits seldom is a very good idea. These take groundswells rather than mandates to truly succeed. Thanks to communities like Vail, Avon, Gypsum and Eagle, the world just might become a little healthier.

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