Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources’ (ANR) issued a report to the legislature today on the implementation of Vermont’s Universal Recycling law (Act 148), which passed the Vermont Legislature in 2012. The new law requires statewide recycling by July 2015, and diverts food scraps from landfills by July 2020. Once implemented, the law is expected to double Vermont’s recycling and composting rate (30 to 60), and greatly increase the amount of materials diverted from landfills (36 to 47).
ANR recommends that the legislature moves toward fully implementing the Universal Recycling law based on extensive data contained in two contracted studies: State of Vermont Waste Composition Study (http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/wastediv/solid/documents/finalreportvermontwastecomposition13may2013.pdf) and Systems Analysis of the Impact of Act 148 on Solid Waste Management in Vermont, (http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/wastediv/solid/Act148.htm#FinalReport) as well as ANR’s own analysis. Additional components of the report to the legislature lay out recommendations such as local governance considerations, the potential for private/public capital investments, and the need for a level playing field for all commercial haulers.
“By effectively implementing Vermont’s Universal Recycling law, Vermont will break the glass ceiling ‘waste management’ has been under for over a decade,” said Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner David Mears. DEC is a department within ANR. “So much of what we throw away is valuable materials. We have a heightened opportunity to create the markets to receive those materials, diverting as much as we can from landfills.”
“The Universal Recycling law makes recycling and composting easy,” emphasized Cathy Jamieson, DEC Solid Waste Program Manager. “The law ensures convenient, consistent services will be provided to all Vermonters regardless of where they live.”
ANR recommends moving toward full implementation of the Universal Recycling law (Act 148), based on the anticipated doubling of recycling and organics recovery rate, as well as a potential 37 decrease in greenhouse gas production as compared with the existing solid waste management system. Additional recommendations for discussion include: requiring all municipalities to join a solid waste management district; leveling the playing field for all commercial haulers collecting municipal solid waste; establishing a grants/loans program to support private/public sector capital investments; and implementing variable rate pricing, commonly referred to as “pay-as-you-throw.”
The report to the legislature also recognizes the effectiveness of extended producer responsibility programs (EPR), and initiates a stakeholder process over the next year to consider additional EPR programs. Solid waste entities will implement the new law with guidance from ANR’s Materials Management Plan, released later this month.
ANR’s recommendations, titled “Report to the Vermont Legislature: Act 148 Implementation”, are available for download at: http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/wastediv/solid/act148.htm
Media Contact: Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears, 802-371-8933, email@example.com