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JULY 2020

Hi You,

The last few months have seen the world undergo drastic changes as it reacted and adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we have changed our lifestyles to combat the virus, we have seen the environment recover in amazing ways. Air quality improved on a global scale and we were able to see how quickly nature can bounce back from human influence when given the chance.

However, increased health safety concerns have had a negative impact on the environment in the form of single-use disposables, made primarily of plastic. In an effort to combat COVID, many businesses have reverted to using disposable plastic products and packaging in an effort to prioritize public health. Scientists and conservationists around the world are beginning to see the effect of these practices in the form of litter and increased waste pollution in oceans globally.

In response to this, a conglomerate of 100 scientists in the fields of virology, biology, epidemiology, and more have come together to encourage the continued use of reusable systems, says The Guardian. These experts hope to inform the public that it is safer to use reusable items brought from home than single-use items that have been stored in public spaces such as restaurants and grocery stores. 

COVID-19 has put us at an environmental crossroads with great potential for both the benefit and detriment of the environment. It's important we keep each other safe and in this new normal we can continue to do so without creating excessive amounts of waste in the process.

Here are a couple easy ways you can cut out some of the waste from your new routine!

Skip the utensils when ordering take out from local restaurants

COVID's “Safer-at-Home” orders make it so supporting your favorite local restaurant means taking food to-go.

While we may not have the option to dine in at some of these restaurants right now, we do have the option to limit the amount of waste that we produce while ordering in or picking up.

Request that restaurants hold the utensils and try to get your sauces at the restaurant to avoid the plastic that comes with your meal from becoming unnecessary waste.

Enough is enough

During the early days of COVID, it was common to turn on the news and see people rushing out of grocery stores with enough cases of water bottles to hydrate a soccer team for a whole season.

But in these very uncertain times one thing that has remained clean and clear in the valley is our tap water. Opt to drink from your reusable water bottle and save unnecessary plastic waste from being created, while saving yourself money by committing to a one-time-purchase hydration strategy.


Learn more strategies to cut your waste in a post-COVID world here!

Fill & Refill is Open for Refilling!
Fill & Refill is the first "unpackaged" store in Eagle County where you can buy bulk and zero waste products

Allison Burgund started Fill & Refill after an eye-opening trip with her daughter to the recycling center. After this experience, she decided to catalog all of her family’s trash for a month and realized that a bulk of her plastic waste came from re-purchasing the same bathroom products over and over again.  

Fill & Refill was born as a way to reduce plastic waste by giving purchasers a chance to reuse bottles of things like shampoo, hand soap, and laundry detergent rather than having to buy the same product in a new bottle.

Fill & Refill is a hub for a sustainable lifestyle, offering reusable products in everything from toothpaste tablets, to Swiffer heads, to the new COVID Killer hand sanitizer. 

Check out their booth at the Vail America Days where they are giving away reusable straws and reef safe sunscreen!

Walking Mountains Zero Waste continues to divert waste at local events.
Even with fewer events this summer Walking Mountains is ensuring events in the Valley continue to go Zero Waste.

Zero-Waste-Logo-1Walking Mountains Zero Waste Team helps events cut back on waste to landfill through offering recycling and composting paired with volunteers who are there to help event-goers know what goes where! 

Look out for our zero waste team at farmers markets and weekly live music in the Eagle River Valley this summer!

Hosting an event this summer? Connect with our Zero Waste Team and learn how you cut back your waste.

Zero Waste Your Event!




New Rebates!
Walking Mountains Sustainability is offering new mini-grants in 2020! Sign up for an Energy Smart home energy assessment and learn how you can take advantage of these new rebate programs.
Two mini-grants are available in 2020:

  • Income Qualified households for the installation of solar PV
  • Beneficial electrification (switching to an all-electric heating system) available to all Eagle County residents

Connect With An Energy Coach

Town of Avon Adopts New Building Code Standards

The Town of Avon recently amended its local code to adopt a suite of recommendations from the Sustainable Building Code Task Force of the Climate Action Collaborative. The code language revisions can be see here (page 177). 

New Code Requirements Include:

  • Adopting the Solar-Ready provisions in the IECC 2015 Appendix for all new single-family homes.
  • Adopting EV ready standards for all new commercial and multi-family buildings.
  • Increasing the efficiency standard for all new gas appliances.
  • Requiring a minimum electric service be provided to all new single-family homes in the form of a 200 amp all-in-one Solar-Ready electric panel.

2481SolePowerLogo2-1The SolePower Challenge is on!

unnamed-4SolePower is the annual self-powered community challenge, hosted by the Town of Vail. Join the challenge and be eligible to win weekly prizes and show off your progress on the weekly leader boards.

It's simple. Go to solepower.org and make an account - then log any trip you take by bike, skate, or walking!

Log 20 trips and be eligible to win a FREE Quiet-Kat e-bike at the end of the summer season. Happy sole-powered summer!

Town of Vail E-Bike Pilot - Summer 2020

CAC E Bike Demo (19 of 27)

Town of Vail is partnering with Bewegen Technologies to implement an electric bike share pilot program in Vail from July 1st through September 9th.

With 12 bikes in the pilot fleet, the goal of the program is to provide local residents with an alternative commuting option while commuting to work or while running short errands.

Rides will start at $3 for the first 30 minutes. Stations will be in Vail neighborhoods with high local resident populations. Station locations and more details will be announced soon, so keep your eyes out. As a reminder, pedal assist e-bike miles do count in the Sole Power Challenge


Do You Compost Yet?

Backyard DIY Worm Composting Bin With Two Five Gallon Buckets

Did you know there is no evidence that COVID can be spread through food scraps? Composting is the number one way to stop methane emissions in our Eagle County landfill and its COVID safe!

Methane emissions, compared to carbon dioxide, are 20x more powerful in terms of trapping heat in our atmosphere. Honeywagon Organics started a local composting facility making it easier than ever to keep your food scraps out of the landfill.

Contact Honeywagon Organics today to learn how you can start composting in your home, through your HOA, or through your business today!


Construction & Demolition Waste Diversion


Are you working in the building sector and interested in cutting back waste at your job sites?

Join a coalition of Eagle County builders working together to find solutions to increase local efforts around construction waste diversion.

To access C&D diversion resources and get involved in the conversation email Nina Waysdorf, Walking Mountains Zero Waste Coordinator at ninaw@walkingmountains.org.


Interested in Solar PV on your Home?


Holy Cross Energy has incredible rebates available for solar PV!

But, the rebates will be going down starting August 31st. The reason? In September, Holy Cross Energy will be piloting a renewable energy storage program and will be reallocating rebate funds for solar PV to support rebates for solar PV + storage. 

Learn more at: https://www.holycross.com/renewable-energy-incentives/

download-Jun-29-2020-06-00-17-91-PMCan't put Solar on your roof? Go PuRE(ly) Renewable!

Through Holy Cross Energy anyone in our community can purchase 100% renewable electricity from local Colorado renewable energy projects. 

Have you gone 100% renewable electricity? Check out how much it will cost you!

Go 100% Renewable TODAY!



Climate Reality Project - No Idling Campaign

The Eagle County Chapter of the Climate Reality Project is launching a No Idling Campaign this summer.  We are looking for volunteers to help us collect data at high idling locations.  You can also help us spread the word about why no idling is so important to our personal and environmental health!


For more information and if you would like to sponsor a No Idling for your business, contact Mary Pierik @ mpierik22@aol.com

Did you know?

  • One minute of idling a vehicle produces as much carbon monoxide as smoke from three packs of cigarettes. 
  • Idling just 5-10 minutes a day can add up to 1-2 tanks of fuel and $35-115 wasted each year going nowhere. Idling for just 10 seconds uses more fuel then restarting the engine. 
  • Ford Motor Company states “Avoid idling more than 30 seconds (when not in traffic)—Frequent restarting has little impact on the battery and starter (~$10 a year worth of wear), whereas excessive idling can actually damage important engine components.”  

Source: Engines OFF! Colorado (enginesoff.com)

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