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Act 148: Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law

Many of the materials Vermonters have historically thrown away are resources that can recycled or composted instead. These materials take up valuable space in Vermont's only landfill that is needed for materials that have no other disposal option. These are some of the reasons why the Vermont Legislature unanimously passed the Universal Recycling Law (Act 148) in 2012, which bans the three categories of materials from the trash in Vermont:

The pie chart demonstrates that Vermonters are still not diverting everything that is recyclable or compostable from the landfill. Do your part to learn what goes in your recycling bin and how to reduce and manage food waste

Food Recovery Hierarchy

Act 148 also established Vermont's Food Recovery Hierarchy, which recommends the best uses of food waste in order of most to least preferred:

  1. Reduce food waste (you could save money!) 
  2. Donate edible food 
  3. Feed livestock 
  4. Compost on site, or collect food scraps for composting

Residents

After July 1, 2020, all food scraps, including from residents, must be separated from the trash. Containers for collecting food scraps are available at the District Transfer Station. Residents have several options for managing food scraps:

Have more questions? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions or contact us

Leaf and yard waste can be composted at home or taken to a town drop-off location seasonally. Leaf and yard debris and natural wood are also accepted at the District Transfer Station.

Residents are required to separate blue-bin recyclables from the trash. Licensed haulers and town drop-off locations accept recyclables from residents. Recycling bins are available at the District Transfer Station for residents.

Businesses, Schools & Organizations

Businesses, schools, institutions, and other entities that generate more than 1/3 ton of food scraps each week (or 18 tons/year) are currently required to divert their food scraps from the landfill. Starting July 1, 2020, all food scraps—in any amount, from any source—will be banned from the landfill in Vermont. Learn how your school or business can keep food scraps out of the trash. 

Leaf and yard waste and natural wood are accepted at the District Transfer Station. Businesses and organizations are also required to separate blue-bin recyclables from the trash. Licensed haulerstown drop-off locations, and the District Transfer Station accept recyclables from businesses. 

Events

Public and private events are also required to comply with the Universal Recycling Law. Learn more about requirements and resources for handling recyclables and food scraps at events.

More information

Other features of the Universal Recycling Law are meant to make the disposal bans convenient, consistent, and cost-effective, including:

  • Parallel Collection: Waste haulers and drop-off centers that collect trash are required to offer recycling collection. Drop-off centers are also required to accept food scraps. Waste haulers are required to offer collection of food scraps to non-residential customers and apartments of four or more units starting July 1, 2020.

  • Unit-Based Pricing or "Pay-As-You-Throw": Waste haulers and drop-off centers must bundle the costs of recycling and trash collection into one fee for residential customers.

  • Public Space Recycling: Any trash container in a public space (public buildings or land) must be accompanied by a recycling container. Bathrooms are exempt.

Visit the Vermont Agency of Natural Resource's website for information about Act 148, including a summary of the law, fact sheets, and many additional resources.

View a list of downloadable Universal Recycling Symbols, posters and resources.

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Food recovery hierarchy

What about food scraps?

Still have questions about managing food scraps? Check out our FAQ