BENNINGTON -- The State of Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources announced last week the launch of its Universal Recycling Materials Management Map, which is designed to help residents, businesses, and institutions reduce food waste and improve infrastructure.

Designed with 2012's Act 148, the Universal Recycling and Composting Law, in mind, the online, interactive map displays both sources of food scraps, such as restaurants, supermarkets, food pantries, and schools, and the locations of collection services, including what specific types of waste the services can collect. The map includes contact information for all of the services listed.

Act 148, which is being phased in between now and 2020, includes language that requires institutions to separate food scraps from other trash, and requires those who produce more food waste to begin sooner. Generators of 104 tons or more a year started separating food scraps this month, while smaller operations will be forced to implement food scrap recycling in future years. By 2020, all food scraps will be banned from landfills. The interactive map allows these producers to see the nearest qualified recycling centers. For Bennington, the nearest is the TAM Organics Compost Facility in Shaftsbury, which accepts food scraps, leaf/yard debris, and clean wood, according to the map.


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The next closest is the Shaftsbury Transfer Station, which accepts every category of recyclables except for food scraps.

"Removing food scraps and other organic material from the waste steam is a high priority for Vermont," said Agency of Natural Resources secretary Deb Markowitz, "These materials account for nearly 30 percent of what we throw out, wasting limited landfill space; and as the waste breaks down, it produces greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. In order to make it easier for Vermont businesses and institutions to identify the alternatives that are available to them, the Agency of Natural Resources is now providing an easy-to-use tool to help connect food producing businesses and institutions with food rescue organizations, solid waste haulers, and facility managers."

Markowitz also said that features would be added over time to help users connect to other recycling options and opportunities state-wide.

The map is located on the ANR's website, at www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/wastediv/solid/URmap_launch.html

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB