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:
- Recyclable paper, plastic, metal, and glass
- Leaf and yard debris and clean wood
- Food scraps (by July 1, 2020)
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.
After July 1, 2020, all food scraps, including from residents, must be separated from the trash. Composting at home is one option, but it is not required: residents have other options as described above. Food scraps are accepted at town drop-off locations and the District Transfer Station. Some curbside waste haulers collect food scraps. Starting July 1, haulers will be required to offer curbside collection of food scraps only to non-residential customers and apartment buildings of four or more units. Containers for collecting food scraps and compost bins are available 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, 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.
Take our workshop for businesses to learn how to manage food scraps and other materials at your workplace.
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 haulers, town drop-off locations, and the District Transfer Station accept recyclables from businesses.
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.