Vail requires recycling at summer festivals

Bottles, plastic bags discouraged at events

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— This summer in Vail, you may be encouraged to ride your bike or take the bus to the Teva Mountain Games. Or you might be served a grilled rib on an eco-friendly paper plate made of recycled materials at the Lamb Cook Off.

The town of Vail, as part of its environmental sustainability program, is requiring event organizers to meet certain green requirements this summer.

The program aims to lessen the events' impact on the environment, as well as educate those who come to the events, said Kristen Bertuglia, the town of Vail's environmental sustainability coordinator.

"These events can have such a major impact in such a short period of time," she said, pointing to the massive amounts of trash created during a weekend event, particularly the many bottles and plastic cups left from beverages.

The requirements include providing recycling containers in all areas of the event, disposing of waste water into a sewer system, eliminating the use of Styrofoam, using eco-friendly utensils, discouraging the use of plastic cups and bottles and enforcing a no-idling policy for vehicles at the event.

People attending the events also should be encouraged to bike, walk, carpool or take public transportation, officials said.

The organizers must meet the requirements to receive their event permit.

Many events already are taking their own steps to be more eco-friendly. Taste of Vail used all compostable serving utensils, plates and cups. The Lamb Cook Off turned all their plastic event banners into reusable shopping bags.

Organizers for the upcoming Teva Mountain Games also are working on some green improvements, including a possible plan to offset the event's carbon footprint, said event spokeswoman Shelley Woodworth.

The town also offers a two-page checklist of suggested green improvements to event organizers, including using vendors and companies with environmental policies, not using plastic bags and using linens instead of paper products.

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