The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released it’s first ‘Universal Recycling Status Report’ which found that recycling and composting increased by 11,793 tonnes from 2014 to 2015 – 2%.
DEC explained that Vermont’s Universal Recycling law (Act 148), passed unanimously in 2012, has the goal to reverse decades-long stagnant recycling and composting rates and it is working.
The law requires recycling of “blue bin” recyclables (paper, cardboard, steel and aluminum cans and tins, glass bottles and jars, and plastic bottles and containers #1 and #2) and not disposing of leaf and yard debris, clean wood and food scraps over a six-year timeframe.
The department said that Universal Recycling also makes it easier and more convenient for residents to recycle and compost by ensuring that services are available for the collection of recyclables, leaf and yard debris, and food scraps at transfer stations around the state.
The key measures highlighted in the report showed:
- Waste disposal decreased 5% statewide from 2014 to 2015
- Recycling and composting increased by 11,793 tons from 2014 to 2015 (2%)
- Food donation grew by nearly 40%, according to the Vermont Foodbank
- More Vermonters have access to recycling collection than ever before.
“Vermont’s waste haulers and managers deserve a great deal of credit for these recycling achievements,” said DEC Commissioner Alyssa Schuren. “They are out there every day, helping people recycle and teaching them how to compost.”
According to said John Casella, CEO of Casella Resource Solutions.Act 148 is a crucial element in the progression of the value of resource renewal and conservation across Vermont’s economic and environmental landscape.
Jeff Myers, President, Myers Container Service added: “Since state recycling kicked-in, we have seen a huge jump in recyclables from both residential and commercial customers. Most people already did this, but now there is a little extra motivation.”
DEC Solid Waste Program Manager, Cathy Jamieson said: “Organic materials—food scraps, leaf and yard debris, clean wood, and compostable dirty paper—make up almost a third of our waste. “Every year, nearly 100,000 tonnes of organic material is estimated to be landfilled in Vermont.”
To help implement the Universal Recycling law, DEC said that Vermont currently has:
- 10 certified food scrap composting or anaerobic digestion facilities
- 13 permitted food scrap haulers that offer services from areas such as Bennington and Brattleboro to St. Johnsbury and St. Albans
- 17 farm digesters—many already taking food processing residuals.
“Vermont’s Universal Recycling law has shifted the focus from feeding landfills to feeding hungry Vermonters,” commented DEC Commissioner Alyssa Schuren. “What is not donated can be fed to animals, composted, or used to create renewable energy in anaerobic digesters.”
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