Sustainable Vail: Resolve to think green in the new year |

Sustainable Vail: Resolve to think green in the new year

Kristen Bertuglia
Sustainable Vail
Kristen Bertuglia

Each year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions to get organized, learn a new skill, exercise more, lose weight, be healthier and so much more. In 2023, there are small changes we can all make to contribute to a healthier environment. We can all resolve to think a little more about our habits and how little shifts can make a big difference when impacting the world around us.

Whether you are a local in the Vail Valley or a visitor just coming to ski our world-class slopes, here are 10 easy tips we can all follow to make positive environmental shifts in the New Year.

  • Buy green cleaning products: Only purchase non-toxic and natural cleaning products. Or, better yet, make your own. White vinegar with baking soda and a splash of lemon makes a great, all-natural cleaning product.
  • Turn off your computer: Did you know that sleep mode still draws energy even if your computer is not being used? At night, when you wrap up for the day, make sure to turn your computer off and save some energy overnight.
  • Limit the use of paper towels: Most of us think about plastic when it comes to trash and recycling, however paper also contributes greatly to landfills. In Eagle County, paper accounts for 17 percent of content in our landfill. It might be difficult to fully eliminate use of paper towels but consider using smaller sheets or opt for cleaning cloths. Choose to use cloth napkins as well. Vail also offers options for local composting, check with the town or your local waste hauler.
  • Reusable bags. Bring your own bag when visiting local markets and retail stores. In 2015, when Vail shifted to this new policy, consumers were using more than 4.5 million plastic bags each year in the town of Vail. Now, due to visitors and locals alike working together, 300,000 paper bags are used for purchases for use every year.
  • No plastic water bottles: In the Vail Valley, we have fresh Rocky Mountain tap water that comes from the source and it is delicious. Skip purchasing single-use plastic water bottles and opt for a reusable bottle filled from the tap.
  • Every drop counts: Water is not a finite resource in the western United States. Check your faucets for leaks at the beginning of the year and fix any drips. Did you know that a faucet that drips once each second can waste over eight gallons of water per day and more than 3,000 gallons per year?
  • Choose cold versus hot water: On average, water heaters are the second largest household expense and they account for nearly 20 percent of a home’s energy consumption. When the option is presented, choose cold versus hot water. For example, when doing laundry, cold water provides a fine alternative to washing with warm water — it saves money as well as extends the shape and color of clothing. Cold showers are good for your skin, immune system and metabolism, but in the winter, we know this is a tough option to choose.
  • Reduce red meat: Choosing to eat just one less piece of red meat per week can make a big impact in your carbon footprint. According to a study by the University of Michigan, if you were to replace all your beef consumption with chicken for one year, it could lead to an annual carbon footprint reduction of 882 pounds of carbon.
  • Support green businesses: Support local businesses that take added steps to reduce their impact and operate in a more sustainable manner. These businesses often have a window decal to illustrate their Actively Green status, however, the town of Vail also has made it easy to find these businesses at
  • Trim your carbon footprint: Carbon emissions are one of the largest impacts on the environment. Choose to take public transportation at least once a week. Or, consider purchasing a carbon offset to lessen the impacts of travel. Colorado Carbon Fund offers a unique license plate program for Coloradans, which is tax deductible. Visit the Protect our Winters website and use their carbon calculator and list of resources to offset your travel footprint. 

For more information on how locals and visitors alike can make small shifts to positively impact our environment, please visit

Kristen Bertuglia is the director of the environmental sustainability department at the town of Vail. The Discover Vail monthly sustainability column is a project of the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council, which is responsible for marketing the destination during the non-winter months.

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