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Help make Steamboat summer events more sustainable

Adapted from the Steamboat Today

water monsterSummer event season is here! There’s a full line-up of fun community events this holiday weekend, but, when you bring hundreds, if not thousands, of people together, events can generate a tremendous amount of waste.

You may not see Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s green waste diversion tents at many events this summer. With the end of commercial composting locally, true Zero Waste events, as our community has come to expect, are not possible. However, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council (YVSC) is still helping reduce the environmental footprint of events. We are looking upstream to reduce event waste before it happens and helping event coordinators and attendees recycle as much as they can. Even though there isn’t an option for recycling food waste at events, YVSC is focused on making sure that overflowing trash cans and misplaced recyclables aren’t the image we present to our community’s many visitors and to our children.

Waste reduction and recycling don’t happen by magic. We can all help minimize the environmental footprint of events that we attend.

Here are 5 simple things that YOU can do to make Steamboat events more sustainable:

1. BYOB (bottle, that is): Avoid single-use plastic bottles and cups. Bring a reusable water bottle and refill at YVSC’s free Water Monster hydration stations, available at many community events.

2. Find the bin: Properly dispose of items in recycle and trash bins. If you don’t see a bin right away, ask someone. If you spot an aluminum can or plastic bottle that didn’t make it into a recycling bin, be a waste warrior and put it where it belongs! Paper with food on it must go in the trash.

3. Leave no trace: Pack out your waste, especially if you can’t find a recycling bin. Although some food waste is biodegradable, please don’t leave it on the ground. It’s still litter and is harmful for native animals to eat. Also, be sure to dispose of cigarettes in safe, appropriate areas. It’s been a dry summer, and the fire danger is rising.

4. Spork it: Bring your own cutlery, cloth napkin and/or to-go container. Encourage coordinators of events you attend to use environmentally-friendly tableware. Styrofoam is so NOT Steamboat!

5. Bike it: Ride your bike, walk or take the free bus to events. You’ll be glad you did when everyone else is waiting to get out of the parking lot.

It takes all of us to keep our Valley green and clean! Please do your part. You can find out more about YVSC’s waste diversion efforts and sustainable events at our website www.yvsc.org. If you need help reducing waste at your party or event, please contact Cameron at cameron@yvsc.org.

Sarah B. Jones
Executive Director, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council