VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – On Tuesday night the town of Vail decided that recycling is no longer a choice for residents and businesses, it’s an obligation.

Vail is one of the most popular ski destinations in the country and it’s actually tourists who helped drive the recycling requirement.

“They have said, I can’t believe you don’t’ recycle to the extent we recycle, so really it’s what people want to do and we’re responding to that demand,” said Vail Councilwoman Margaret Rogers.

Vail is now one of the few towns in Colorado that is making recycling mandatory.

Honeywagon, the largest waste service in Vail, says they’re still trying to figure out how it will work because at the Eagle County recycling facility paper doesn’t mix with plastic.

There are two main forms of recycling: single stream and dual stream. In single stream you just put everything into one bin and not worry about it but in dual stream you actually have to pull the paper out.

There was a lot of discussion of which way Vail would go and they decided that the market is going to decide.

“You actually recycle a lot more with single stream than people do with the dual stream but essentially it’s going to go out of the Vail Valley at some point,” said Rogers.

Vail’s environmental sustainability coordinators said even though trucks will need to haul the recyclables away, it still makes good environmental sense.

If residents and businesses don’t comply, there’s the possibility for a nearly $1,000 fine and 180 days in jail.

“Really giving them tickets is a last resort,” said Rogers. “I’m pretty sure nobody is going to jail over this. The idea behind this is people want to do this and we don’t want to criminalize people for doing the right thing.”

The next issue the town had to figure out was bear resistant recycling containers. Those, too, will be mandatory but the town is willing to help residents offset the costs.

The new requirement is scheduled to go into effect in July.


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