Vail’s Kick the Bag Habit initiative will officially begin on Saturday, Aug. 1. That’s when single-use plastic bags will be eliminated at the two grocery stores; paper bags will be available for a 10-cent per bag fee for those who forget to bring their reusable bags. To help kick the bag habit, the town will be distributing free reusable bags to residents and guests. A bag share program also has been implemented.
The plastic bag ban was adopted by the Vail Town Council on March 3, 2015. Ordinance No. 2, Series of 2015 is part of an overall effort by the town to reduce waste and environmental impacts associated with single-use disposable items.
To help make implementation fun and convenient, representatives from the town’s environmental sustainability office will be distributing free, custom-made reusable bags throughout the summer while supplies last, courtesy of the town. The giveaways include a kick-off distribution at 10 a.m. Saturday at the City Market and Safeway stores in West Vail and will continue throughout the morning while supplies last. Additional bags will be distributed every Friday in August at the two grocery stores from 4 to 5 p.m.
In all, the town will be distributing more than 30,000 complimentary reusable bags during the year. Distribution outlets will include the Welcome Centers in Vail Village and Lionshead, the Vail Municipal Building and Community Development office. A supply will also be made available to lodging properties and property management companies.
In addition, a bag share program has been implemented with self-service bins located at the Vail Municipal Building, Vail Public Library, Lionshead Transit Center and Vail Transportation Center. The bins allow you to take a bag for free or leave a bag for someone else to use. Only clean, reusable bags should be donated. Don’t forget to routinely clean or wash your reusable bags.
Saturday’s implementation of the Kick the Bag Habit initiative represents a significant milestone for the town, according to Mark Hoblitzell, environmental sustainability coordinator. “We’re excited and proud of the desire of our community to reduce waste,” he said. “The Kick the Bag Habitat initiative and the community wide recycling program are big steps to reducing our footprint on the environment.”
By ordinance, 20 percent of the paper bag fees collected by the grocery stores are to be used to offset collection and remittance expenses, while the remainder is to be used by the town for ongoing public education programs and actions. Town staff is still evaluating options and speaking with the business community regarding a potential Phase 2 which would extend the program to all retail stores in Vail.
For more information, contact Hoblitzell at 970-479-2333.