Vermont recycling overhaul signed into law

Vermont recycling overhaul signed into law

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has signed a far-reaching bill into law that's intended to significantly increase recycling and composting in the Green Mountain State.

The new law was passed in response to the dwindling amount of landfill space in the state and lawmakers' failure to pass legislation that would create a comprehensive extended producer responsibility framework.

According to a statement from the governor's office, Vermont currently recycles 36 percent of its waste stream. But that number could be higher with half of the remaining 64 percent being recyclable.

The new law will phase in mandatory recycling and composting, prohibiting the disposal of recyclable or compostable materials in landfill. It also eventually requires waste haulers to collect leaf and yard waste, as well as food scraps.

The requirements begin with the largest processors of produce and will steadily be applied to anyone who generates food waste. The law also requires that recycling containers be provided in equal number to trash cans in public buildings.

"Vermonters are currently throwing away up to $7.6 million worth of waste that could be recycled or composted," said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears, in a prepared statement. "[The new law] will help divert this material from the waste stream and away from our crowded landfills."

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