Vermonters Could Reduce Trash by Half

Vermont Reduction Report

State Releases Universal Recycling Status Report

Please see the press release (below) and the Universal Recycling Status Report attached.

Media Contact:

Josh Kelly, 802-522-5897

State Releases Universal Recycling Status Report

Montpelier – On the heels of America Recycles Day—a national celebration of recycling held each November 15—the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released its first “Universal Recycling Status Report.”  The 16-page report summarizes the status of recycling, composting, and food donation across the state.


Vermont’s Universal Recycling law (Act 148) passed unanimously in 2012. The law’s goal was 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.  Universal Recycling also makes it easier and more convenient for Vermonters 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.


As of July 2016:

–          Trash 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; and

–          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.  They are out there every day, helping people recycle and teaching them how to compost,” said DEC Commissioner Alyssa Schuren.


“Act 148 is another step in the strong history and already robust ethic of recycling in Vermont. It is certainly a crucial element in the progression of the value of resource renewal and conservation across Vermont’s economic and environmental landscape,” said John Casella, CEO of Casella Resource Solutions.


“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,” said Jeff Myers, President, Myers Container Service.


Universal Recycling benefits Vermont by:

–          Saving valuable resources and promoting sustainability;

–          Reducing GHG emissions from solid waste by an estimated 37%;

–          Supporting green jobs, creating new markets and business opportunities; and

–          Reducing the need for landfills, improving the health of our environment.


“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 tons of organic material is estimated to be landfilled in Vermont,” said DEC Solid Waste Program Manager, Cathy Jamieson.


To help implement the Universal Recycling law, 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

–          100s of businesses, schools, and institutions that have recycled and composted for years–like UVM Medical Center, The Wayside Restaurant, and Bennington College.


Eric Paris, Owner of Kingdom View Compost in Lyndonville said, “We consistently sell out of our compost in the spring and continue to get calls for it into the fall.  This is an important source of revenue for our farm and we hope to expand to accept more food scraps and create more high quality compost.  We are very excited about this.”


“Vermont’s Universal Recycling law has shifted the focus from feeding landfills to feeding hungry Vermonters,” said DEC Commissioner Alyssa Schuren.  “What is not donated can be fed to animals, composted, or used to create renewable energy in anaerobic digesters.”


To view the full report, go to:


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Photo Caption: The Universal Recycling law is working through many new forms of reuse and recycling, from traditional blue bin recycling containers to feeding hungry neighbors by food donation.


Radio Brief: On the heels of America Recycles Day, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation released it’s first “Universal Recycling Status Report,” which summarizes data that shows how the law is working. Some of the highlights include that trash disposal decreased 5 percent statewide from 2014 to 2015, and recycling and composting increased by 2 percent. According to the Vermont Foodbank, food donation grew by nearly 40%. For more information and to view the full report, go to D-E-C dot Vermont dot gov.



Josh Kelly      (Note new email:

Materials Management Section Chief

VT ANR, Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Solid Waste Program

Cell/office (802) 522-5897

Recycling Law Credited with Cutting Landfill Use 5 Percent

Recycling law credited with cutting landfill use 5 percent…



Recycling law credited with cutting landfill use 5 percent


Wood Stove Change-Out Incentive

In November 2016, the Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) and Air Quality and Climate Division introduced a wood stove change-out incentive. This financial incentive will encourage Vermonters to replace their old non EPA-certified stoves with cleaner heating systems, and will require that the old stoves are properly recycled or disposed of at a solid waste district, licensed salvage yard or certified recycling facility.


As part of the incentive offer, participating retailers will need to bring the old stoves to a certified recycling facility, licensed salvage yard or solid waste district either to be recycled or disposed of in accordance with applicable law.  These stoves may be used for salvage material and/or scrap metal.  However, these stoves cannot be reused or resold for intended use as a wood boiler of any kind.  Participating facilities will be asked to act as final receivers of the stoves and to sign the Final Project Documentation and Incentive Request Form (presented by the retailer) to verify that a stove has been received.  The retailer will be responsible for all other documentation.


To assist participating retailers in implementing the wood stove change-out incentive, the Renewable Energy Resource Center (RERC), which is administering the program, is compiling a list of facilities where stoves can be recycled or disposed of in accordance with applicable law.  If you are interested in being listed as a participating facility, please contact the Program Manager, Allison Fode, at or (802) 540-7859 at your earliest convenience. You may also visit our website at for more information about the program (information will be posted by the end of today on our Application Forms page).


This incentive is provided through the Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program (SSREIP) of the CEDF with additional funding from the Department of Environmental Conservations, Division of Air Quality & Climate and is administered by the RERC. If you have any questions, please contact us at your earliest convenience. We thank you for your assistance and look forward to working with you to implement Vermont’s wood stove change-out incentive!


USDA, EPA Announce U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions!

USDA, EPA Announce U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions
15 Major U.S. Companies Pledge 50 Percent Reduction in Food Loss and Waste

WASHINGTON  — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy today announced the inaugural class of the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, U.S. businesses and organizations pledging concrete steps to reduce food loss and waste in their operations 50 percent by 2030. Champions announced today include Ahold USA, Blue Apron, Bon Appétit Management Company, Campbell Soup Company, Conagra Brands, Delhaize America, General Mills, Kellogg Company, PepsiCo, Sodexo, Unilever, Walmart, Wegman’s Food Markets, Weis Markets and YUM! Brands.

“The founding 2030 Champions have shown exceptional leadership in the fight to reduce, recover and recycle food loss and waste,” said Vilsack. “The staggering amount of wasted food in the United States has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change. To help galvanize U.S. efforts to reduce food loss and waste, USDA and EPA announced the first U.S. food loss and waste reduction goal in September 2015. Today, the first 15 Champions are stepping up to do their part to help the nation reach this critical goal.”

“Reducing food waste is good for business, it’s good for the environment, and it’s good for our communities,” said McCarthy. “We need leaders in every field and every sector to help us reach our food loss goal.  That’s why we’re excited to work with the 2030 Champions and others across the food retail industry as we work together to ensure that we feed families instead of landfills.”

In the United States, EPA estimates that more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in our everyday trash, about 21 percent of the waste stream. Keeping wholesome and nutritious food in our communities and out of landfills helps communities and the 42 million Americans that live in food insecure households. Reducing food waste also impacts climate change as 20 percent of total U.S. methane emissions come from landfills.

Each 2030 Champion establishes a baseline marking where they are today and will measure and report on their progress toward the goal in a way that makes sense for their organization. There are many ways to look at food loss and waste and definitions vary. 2030 Champions are encouraged to consult the Food Loss and Waste Protocol for information on defining and transparently measuring food loss and waste.

For food waste in the U.S., EPA’s Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures provides an estimate of the amount of food going to landfills from residences; commercial establishments like grocery stores and restaurants; institutional sources like school cafeterias; and industrial sources like factory lunchrooms. USDA’s Economic Research Service estimates that the amount of food that went uneaten at the retail and consumer levels in the baseline year of 2010 represented 31 percent of the available food supply, about 133 billion pounds of food worth an estimated $161.6 billion.

Cutting food waste in half by 2030 will take a sustained commitment from everyone. Success requires action from the entire food system including the food industry, non-profits, governments and individuals.

USDA research estimates that about 90 billion pounds comes from consumers, costing $370 per person every year. USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion produces a resource, called Let’s Talk Trash, which focuses on consumer education, highlighting key data and action steps consumers can take to reduce food waste.

Details on becoming a U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion can be found at and Businesses not yet in a position to make the 50 percent reduction commitment can participate in the Food Recovery Challenge or the U.S. Food Waste Challenge. 

Additional background and contact information for the 15 inaugural Champions is available in the USDA Newsroom:

Vermont DEC to Receive $160,000 EPA Pollution Prevention Grant

The Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC) has been selected to receive approximately $160,000 over two years as one of five Pollution Prevention grants being awarded by EPA’s New England Regional Office for the FY2016-FY2017 Pollution Prevention Grants cycle.

Pollution Prevention grants fund programs or projects that measurably reduce the environmental footprints of local and regional businesses through projects that significantly reduce or eliminate pollution from air, water and/or land prior to relying on recycling or waste clean-up.  In total EPA is awarding approximately $689,000 for Pollution Prevention grants in New England over the next two years.

“EPA is pleased to support our partner VT DEC by funding these effective and well-designed projects,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Our Pollution Prevention Grants reduce pollution at its source, which is the best way to create a cleaner environment and sustainable economy.”

Under this grant, VT DEC’s pollution prevention staff will conduct three projects:

  •  Provide assistance through the Vermont Green Business Program (VGBP) and Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence and Pollution Prevention – VT DEC will focus its efforts in these two recognition programs on helping businesses, particularly restaurants,  comply with Vermont’s newly enacted Universal Recycling Law (Act 148), which bans organics (leaf, yard and clean wood debris, and food waste) in phases, requiring restaurants and other food establishments to prevent, recover, and separate food waste. It will continue to administer the Governor’s Award program and partner with the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) to modernize the VGBP to motivate more businesses to participate. NERC will assist the VTDEC in revamping marketing materials for content and presentation, distributing materials to more businesses, direct outreach to targeted businesses (restaurants and dairy processors, and highlighting the VGBP in their social media outlets.
  •  Outreach to Dairy Processors – VT DEC will initiate an outreach and assistance initiative targeting dairy processing operations. VT DEC will do an assessment of outreach and education needs in the dairy processing sector, develop outreach materials, and deliver materials through webinars and site visits.
  • Outreach to Conditionally Exempt Hazardous Waste Generators (CEGs) – VT DEC will provide information on Vermont hazardous waste management regulations and pollution prevention to these generators of small quantities of hazardous waste, in a manner that is accessible and brings the information directly to them.  The project is intended to both increase compliance with these regulations and reduce hazardous waste generation and pollution. VT DEC will revise and publicize an updated compliance handbook for CEGs, offer in-person training, host webinars or YouTube videos on topics of interest for on-demand viewing by busy small businesses, update the online CEG tutorial, and offer compliance assistance visits.

More information on EPA’s Pollution Prevention Grant Program: .

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Universal Recycling Law Working

Thanks to you and your efforts, Vermont’s Universal Recycling law is working. Trash disposal decreased by 5% statewide and the recycling and composting rate rose 2% this past year.
Please note that Landfill bans on Baseline Recyclables, Leaf & Yard Debris and Clean Wood are all in effect.
· Baseline recyclables include:
o Aluminum and steel cans
o Aluminum foil and aluminum pie pans
o Glass bottles and jars from food and beverages
o Plastic containers, bottles and jugs #1 (PET) & #2 (HDPE)
o Corrugated cardboard and Box board
o White and mixed paper, newspaper, magazines, paper mail, envelopes, paper bags
· Transfer Stations must offer collection for baseline recyclables and leaf and yard debris separate from trash.
· Transfer stations may choose to offer collection for clean wood (unpainted, untreated wood)along with leaf & yard debris and could consider the following options: recycling the clean wood by sending it a C&D recycling facility, chipping for composting feedstock, mulch, or biomass heat or passive composting. Please see the Leaf, Yard and Clean Wood Guide attached here for more detail.
· Clean wood must not be mixed with trash and must not be disposed of in a landfill or incinerator.
· Transfer stations must offer collection of food scraps beginning July 1, 2017 separate from trash.

Recycling and Composting in Vermont

Recycling and Composting in Vermont


Good Point Recycling Receives Vermont Governor’s Spirit of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Award.

Vermont Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities notes outstanding contributions by Good Point Recycling. Halloween Event promotes cooperation by recycler, counseling service.

Manual disassembly, testing, and reuse and of used electronics recycles more than “e-waste”. In Vermont, it creates jobs for people who face some of the highest barriers to employment.  Read more here….

Americans Flock to National Drug Take Back Day

Six years after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launched its National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Americans continue to turn out in large numbers to rid their homes of unused medications, including controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) such as painkillers, tranquilizers, and stimulants.  Read more here…