Distribution of free, custom-designed re-usable grocery bags started Thursday to coincide with Saturday’s transition to a plastic grocery bag-free community in Vail. The Kick the Bag Habit reusable bags are available to residents and guests on a first come, first served basis, courtesy of the Town of Vail.
The bags are now available from four outlets: the Welcome Centers in Vail Village and Lionshead, the Vail Municipal Building and Community Development office, 75 S. Frontage Road. A supply is being made available to lodging properties and property management companies, as well. A bag share program also has been implemented. The town asks that distribution be limited to one bag per person to ensure widespread availability.
Beginning Saturday, single-use plastic bags will be eliminated at the two grocery stores in West Vail; paper bags will be available for a 10-cent per bag fee for those who forget to bring their reusable bags.
To help raise awareness, representatives from the town’s environmental sustainability office will be distributing the free bags throughout the summer while supplies last. 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.
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.
In all, the town will be distributing more than 40,000 complimentary reusable bags during the year. The 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.
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.