CAST Bag Challenge: Summit County

[click “Play” to hear Eileen’s conversation with Jen Santry about Summit County’s participation]

by Eileen Burns

IMG_7864 Summer is in full swing and so is the CAST Challenge.  The Colorado Association of Ski Towns (or CAST) has been holding a plastic bag challenge since March 1st, with more than 30 ski towns participating, including the Summit County towns of Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon and Silverthorn.  The concept behind this friendly competition between ski towns, is to reduce consumption of single-use, disposable shopping bags by using your own shopping bag and to educate the public on the environmental and social costs associated with single-use plastic bags.  

Assistant Director, Jen Santry, of High Country Conservation Center (HC3) explains that Summit County has been participating in a BYOB (bring you own bag) program for years and when they were invited to participate in the CAST Challenge they eagerly accepted.  Summit county has around 30,000 year round residents and up to 100,000 people in the area during the peak ski season.  That could add up to a lot of plastic bag consumption, but the programs are working and people are getting more in the habit of bringing their own bags when they shop.  “It is not about winning the challenge, although that would be great.  These programs help educate the public and effect change,” explains Santry.  HC3 provides programs, services, and advocacy in the areas of waste reduction, energy conservation, green building, and even climate change.

CAST_Challenge_Poster Participating Stores are displaying the CAST Reusable Bag Challenge poster in their window.  

The winning town will receive a $10,000 grant from sponsor Alpine Bank and PCL Construction to install a solar panel system at a public school for the winning community.  Independent Power Systems will install the system for free.   To find out more information about Summit County involvement in the CAST Challenge go to  or call (970) 668-5703. To learn more about sustainability issues in Telluride, check TNCC’s website.

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