VT: New Law Pushes Vermont Closer to Zero Waste:
This summer, Vermont took another big stride towards zero waste.

This summer, Vermont took another big stride towards zero waste. On July 1, major provisions of the state’s Universal Recycling Law went into effect, banning all recyclables from landfills, mandating that trash haulers also offer recycling services and requiring large-scale food scrap producers to compost. 

For years, Toxics Action Center has helped communities to fight leaking landfills and pollution incinerators, while recycling rates largely stagnated. In many ways, Vermont is green, but the state recycles at the average rate of the rest of the country—just 35 percent—when experts say close to 90 percent is possible. Vermont’s new recycling law aims to drastically turn that around, making sure that reusable materials aren’t ending up in landfills, and food scraps are being recycled into compost.

While there is more work to be done in the next year to make sure the law is implemented, activists, supporters and Toxics Action Center staff gathered at the Barre Opera House for a celebration to mark this important milestone. Guests at the Annual Vermont Activism Celebration were joined by keynote speaker Nora Goldstein, the editor of BioCycle magazine and a preeminent expert in organics recycling, and Alyssa Schuren, former Toxics Action Center director and current commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. Goldstein’s speech highlighted the communities across the country that were taking similar steps to get to zero waste and proving it is possible. Schuren shared the state’s vision for what’s next on the path to zero waste for Vermont. 

Toxics Action Center staff members are excited to work with communities across Vermont to ensure that recycling rates increase and proposals for unnecessary new landfills are held off.