Vail joins mountain town plastic bag battle
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” Vail has joined a contest that began last year between Aspen and Telluride to see which town could replace more plastic bags with reusable ones. Twenty-five other mountain towns ” including Avon, Eagle and Gypsum ” have also joined.
Nathan Ratledge, of Aspen’s Community Office of Resource Efficiency (CORE), co-organizer of last year’s contest, said most of the towns sought out inclusion after hearing about last year’s contest.
“Everyone has kind of [joined] of their own volition,” he said.
The contest will run for six months, from March 1 to Sept. 1. In each town, grocery stores will tally the number of reusable bags used. At the end of the contest, the community that uses the most reusable bags per capita will receive a $5,000 grant from Alpine Bank to install a solar panel system at a local public school.
This year’s contest was organized by David Allen at Telluride’s New Community Coalition, with help from CORE and the Colorado Association of Ski Towns.
To publicize the contest, the Colorado Association of Ski Towns will spend $5,000 producing a television spot to be made available to all participating towns.
Also starting March 1, Aspen High School’s Earth Club will begin stocking several local hotels with reusable bags they have designed themselves, Ratledge said. The bags will be provided to guests for use on their shopping trips. Guests will have the option of leaving the bag for other guests, or they can purchase it.
Last summer, Aspen and Telluride held a plastic bag contest between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The two towns eliminated the use of an estimated 140,359 single-use shopping bags between May and September ” or 284 bags per store per day. Telluride beat Aspen soundly, using more than twice as many reusable bags per capita during the contest.
This year’s contest also includes the Colorado towns of Telluride, Aspen, Mountain Village, Snowmass Village, Basalt, Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Dillon, Frisco, Steamboat Springs, Grand Lake, Granby, Winter Park, Fraser, Estes Park, Crested Butte and Mount Crested Butte. Idaho participants include Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey. Also participating are Jackson Hole, Wyo. and Park City, Utah.
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