By Christine Benedetti
Don’t expect a straw with that soda this season when visiting any of Aspen Snowmass’ food and beverage locations. The new policy, which starts with the beginning of the 2018-19 ski season, means that now Aspen Snowmass restaurants and lodges — including the Limelight Hotels in Aspen and Snowmass along with The Little Nell — will not give out straws with drinks unless guests specifically request them; even then, they will be paper or compostable.
It’s part of a larger national movement to “Skip the Straw” in an effort to reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste going into the ocean or landfill. “Eliminating plastic straws is a small part of our commitment to reduce our impact. It’s part of a natural progression that began 20-plus years ago and constantly evolves,” says Matt Hamilton, Aspen Snowmass’s Sustainability Director.

But the strawless movement is just one part of Aspen Snowmass’s broader goal to reduce waste. Additional steps — and perhaps even more important and impactful — being taken include a move to composting all food scraps and switching to compostable single-use products, like plates and cups.

About 40 percent of the food Americans purchase can be composted, and restaurants can theoretically compost 70 to 80 percent of their waste. Besides organic food matter, paper products and compostable materials can be included the materials that are composted. In addition to less waste going into the landfill — Pitkin County’s is expected to fill up within the next 10 years — composting results in rich soil, through decomposition, which can be used again for fertilizer.
Paper and compostable straws at Aspen Snowmass
Paper and compostable straws at Aspen Snowmass

As part of the movement to compost, staff will be on-site at larger Aspen Snowmass’s properties, like Elk Camp Restaurant, to educate guests about composting as well as helping them to sort through materials.

Ultimately the goal is to reduce greenhouse emissions, waste and create cleaner water, says Hamilton. Though the steps may seem small, it’s helping the planet one straw at a time.

Published October 2018

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