Vermont moves forward with organic waste diversion


WATERBURY -- The Agency of Natural Resources on Wednesday released a management plan in preparation for the phase-in of the state's Universal Recycling Law.

The first requirement of the phased-in program takes effect in July. The materials management plan outlines how the state will reach its goal of banning all recyclables and organics from the landfill over the next five years.

The state plans to reduce by 33 percent the amount of leaf and yard debris, food scraps, clean wood, paper and other organics from entering the state's landfill by 2019.

Starting in July, any organization generating more than 104 tons of waste per year will be required to compost the material. By 2020, all food scraps and yard debris will be banned from the landfill.

Organic matter increases methane emissions - a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide. If material is composted, methane can be used for fertilizer and energy generation, state officials say.

"Vermont is the first state in the country to begin to implement such an ambitious waste-reduction plan," ANR Secretary Deb Markowitz said in a statement.

"In implementing this plan, we'll decrease greenhouse gas emissions, improve local waste-reduction infrastructure, and increase the amount of valuable materials that are reused or recycled," Markowitz said.

A solid waste report finds the state will need the capacity to process 43,662 tons of organic waste per year when the law is fully implemented. The state currently has the permitted capacity to process 22,000 tons per year.

About 36 percent of all waste is currently diverted from the landfill. The state plans to increase that amount to 50 percent through the full implementation of the recycling law.


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