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Earth Day And The Plastic Bag Challenge

To The Editor:

With Earth Day soon upon us, it has become customary for just about everyone to participate in this annual rite of Spring, but as the saying goes, “Earth Day Is Everyday,” and I’d like to recognize Estes Park Elementary School for switching from plastic cutlery to reusable silverware in it’s cafeteria earlier this year. With estimates being conservative, it’s easy to formulate that 85,000 pieces of heavy-duty plastic are now being spared from the landfill each year by the Elementary school’s progressive action. The consequences of using plastic products on such a large scale are enormous, for as we all know, the use of petroleum products only increases our dependance on foreign oil, and allows for massive amounts of non-biodegradable contaminants to occupy our landfills for thousands of years.

Lately, I’ve become increasingly aware of the Colorado Association of Ski Towns (CAST) Reusable Bag Challenge. Estes Park is one of the 26 “participating mountain towns” in the March 1 – September 1 contest, and the town who reduces their consumption of single-use plastic bags the most will win a $5,000 solar panel for their local elementary school. I recently picked up an issue of the Vail Daily and read that The Gypsum Public Library will be holding a workshop in June for parents and their children to take plastic bags and turn them into reusable ones. Another program similar to Gypsum’s will be held at Avon Elementary School, with thanks to The Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainablility (the Estes Park equivalent is the Sustainability Living Coalition of the Estes Valley). The Eagle Valley Alliance has ordered 1,000 reusable bags that children in  after-school programs will decorate and sell to local stores. According to Dawn Ritts of Gypsum, “the kids are excited to promote the contest, and it’s been really easy for the kids to convince their parents to get involved.”

Not only is the CAST Plastic-bag challenge an opportunity for the Elementary School to win a $5,000 solar panel, but it’s also the perfect opportunity for the Town of Estes Park to reduce it’s overall “carbon footprint.” Estes Schools will be grateful for the solar panel and above all, future generations will be grateful for the contribution that our generation is making on it’s behalf. For further information you can email Irene Little at, or Diane Burkepile at

Michael Bilos
Estes Park, CO

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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