Recycling & Zero Waste
Zero waste is about using all possible means to ensure that little to no waste is produced. To take it one step further, zero waste means a shift in our perception about products and consumption; about viewing objects we traditionally refer to as trash instead as valuable resources that can be recovered and reused.
It is much easier to reduce our waste when we reduce the amount of products we purchase or when we purchase sustainable products; products that have minimal packaging, are sustainably-sourced, and can be recycled, upcycled, composted, or reused again and again. In 2008, we made a strong statement: the placement of materials in waste disposal facilities, such as landfills and incinerators, is costly to our taxpayers, causes environmental damage, wastes natural resources, and transfers liabilities to future generations. That statement was part of a resolution and the Zero Waste Action Plan approved by Town Council to establish the goal of zero waste (or darn close) for the community by 2025. Adopting such a plan that helps create a resource management-based economy means more than just new jobs in this region, it means we are taking a long hard look at the way things used to be done and saying we can do them better.
Recycling is a critical component of the Zero Waste Action Plan. In Mountain Village, all residential and commercial properties are required to properly recycle glass, plastic, aluminum, paper and cardboard materials. It’s a win-win: you save money because recycling costs less to haul away than trash, and less trash ends up in landfills and in the environment.
Two waste haulers serve our area: Bruin Waste and Waste Management. They both offer residential and commercial waste and recycling services. Residents and businesses are responsible for contracting with one of these companies directly or through their HOAs or property management, as applicable. While Bruin Waste and Waste Management both accept and process the Town’s required recyclable materials, their processes are different. Bruin Waste offers single stream recycling and Waste Management offers dual stream recycling.
Local recycling guidelines can be found in chapter eight of our Municipal Code, or refer to our Web pages covering both commercial or residential trash and recycling. All offices and plazas in Town are equipped with recycling bins. Recycle all paper, cardboard, glass, plastic #1-7* and aluminum/tin products in these bins for collection by the waste management teams. If you are in a facility that does not have adequate recycling bins, please contact your supervisor immediately to arrange a method for you to recycle.
For more information, check out the regional Zero Waste Action Plan to learn how you can help the community achieve its zero waste goals.
*Note that plastic packaging and films cannot be recycled in your bin. To recycle these items, please use the Plastic Packaging Zero Waste Box located outside of Town Hall above Village Market.
*Commercial properties include the ski resort, hotels/lodges, individual businesses, homeowner associations with seven units or more, and multi-family buildings (e.g., VCA).
We track the diversion rate of our recycling efforts monthly and annually and report your progress towards the zero waste goals to Town Council at the start of each year. For 2018 the residential sector diverted nearly 60 percent of its waste from the landfill. Great job! Commercial entities, which include restaurants, retailers, HOAs and lodges, diverted over 40 percent. If you do not have adequate recycling facilities at your home or business, please arrange for these services with your trash and recycling service provider to avoid penalties and fines from us.
Volunteer Efforts Pay Off Big Time
As part of the voluntary Disposal Plastic Bag Reduction Program, which went into effect on September 1, 2012, The Market at Mountain Village stopped distributing petroleum-based plastic bags and switched to compostable paper bags. This program is intended to reduce the amount of plastic and waste in our environment and encourage shoppers to use reusable bags when they shop in Mountain Village. So far the program has been a true success.
The Market at Mountain Village has reduced the number of bags it distributes annually by over 70 percent – the net effect of not only bag reduction, but an increase in the number of items per bag. And, data shows that often there are more bags brought in to the store than distributed. Additionally, the Market uses the bag fees they collect – $0.25 per paper bag for those who forget their reusable bags – to offset the cost of large discounted canvas bags sold at the Market.
Retail merchants in Mountain Village Center no longer distribute disposable plastic bags either … and only offer either paper or long-lasting plastic souvenir bags.
To further reduce the amount of disposable plastic in our waste stream, we installed two water bottle refill stations so you no longer need to purchase plastic disposable water bottles. These stations are located in Town Hall Plaza and at the elevator on Gondola Plaza in Mountain Village Center. They eliminate tens of thousands of disposable water bottles from our waste stream annually.
The Usual Suspects: Reduce, Reuse, Recycling … and Compost
Reduce daily office waste by bringing a reusable coffee mug to work and making sure you really need a hard copy before printing. Bring a reusable bag to work for groceries or other shopping needs (or wants!). Reuse paper for scratch pads before recycling. Reuse plastic food containers before throwing away. Recycling is great, but still requires a lot of energy so please try to use items as many times as possible before discarding into the town’s trash or recycling bins.
Green yard and food waste make up a very large percentage of our waste stream. Currently, there is not a residential or commercial composting program in the region, but that doesn’t mean you can’t compost at home with a system that produces valuable, organic compost for your garden or lawn.