Let's make the world a better place. *Props to Urban Octopus for the artwork ^
Two weeks ago, Vermont legislators passed a law requiring all waste generators (commercial and residential) to recycle both traditional recyclables (plastic, paper, glass) and organic matter (yard and food waste). The first of its kind at the state level, the law requires, at first, high volume organic matter generators to separate their waste into three streams: landfill, traditional recycling, and organic recycling. However by 2020, “any person generating any amount of food residuals will be required to manage on site or arrange for their transfer.”
This law follows other municipalities around the country, such as San Francisco and Seattle, which demand full recycling by law.
Haulers and processors of solid waste will be greatly affected. According to a timeline in the law, by 2017, any state-certified solid waste collection facility must collect and properly process mandated recyclables, yard waste, and food waste. As such, haulers and waste managers will need to shift operations accordingly.
In addition, municipal and county solid waste plans must implement variable rate pricing for collections by 2015, which may support economic viability for the state, solid waste processors and generators.
The State of Vermont has always been on the cutting edge of sustainable and green practices, and this law supports those aims. However, the ambitious law will cause restructuring of the Vermont waste management system and the upheaval certainly will not be without growing pains. Nevertheless, these types of laws are instrumental in making large-scale recycling and composting viable for citizens. Still in other states, cheap landfills, lax waste management policies, and lack of education prove roadblocks to environmental advancement. Let’s hope the rest of the country strives to follow Vermont in taking on our urgent waste management issues.
View the law - Vermont Legislative Bill H.485 - here