BENNINGTON — The University of Vermont is once again offering a web-based class that will help residents of the state better understand composting and Act 148, the Universal Recycling Law.
The four-week online course will give graduates the possibility of becoming a certified Master Composter, through the UVM Extension Master Gardner Program.
Class dates are all Thursday evenings: Sept. 22 and 29 and Oct. 6 and 13, from 6:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. The course can be accessed statewide through GoToWebinar. Participants may either take part in live webinars where they can interact with the instructors or watch archived recordings of the classes at their convenience, according to a release from UVM. All course materials are available online.
The deadline to apply for the program is Sept. 9, and there is a $50 fee associated with signing up for the class. A guidebook is available for free online after signing up, and a physical copy can be purchased for $15. Basic computer skills, such as knowing how to download files and search the internet to access the materials successfully, are required for the course. Disability-related accommodations are available, but must be requested by contacting the Master Gardner Program before Aug. 25.
The subjects covered in the course will include Act 148, the fundamentals of backyard composting, site and container selection, recipes for making compost, troubleshooting, worm composting, and more.
Act 148 was passed in 2012, and has been gradually rolling out since July 2014. As of this July, leaf, yard, and clean wood debris are banned from landfills, and by July 2020 all food scraps will be similarly banned. The law also regulates large producers of food waste. As of this July, the law requires mandatory composting or donation of food organics for generators of more than 26 tons per year, if a composting facility is within 20 miles of the generator. That number will decrease to include all generators who produce more than 18 tons per year next year, preceding the total ban of all food waste from landfills in 2020.
After completing the course, graduates will have the option to be certified as a Master Composter by volunteering for at least 20 hours within a two-year period for community or school composting projects, outreach efforts such as presenting talks or staffing displays at fairs, farmers' markets and other outlets, or assisting with UVM Extension Master Gardener projects with a composting component. Once certified, individuals are asked to provide a minimum of five hours of community outreach each year to maintain the certification.
For more information, or to register, you can visit go.uvm.edu/mastercompostercourse. To request disability assistance, or if you have any further questions, please call the program at (802) 656-9562.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.