Governor Shumlin was joined by legislators and solid waste district representatives today for the signing of H.485, an Act Relating to Establishing Universal Recycling of Solid Waste.
H.485 moves Vermont towards the goal of sending as little solid waste to landfills as possible while maximizing recycling and composting.
"I am pleased to sign this bill today," said Governor Peter Shumlin. "Moving towards universal recycling will advance Vermont into the next generation of solid waste management and keep more waste out of our landfills."
Today, Vermonters recycle 36 percent of the waste stream, but half of the other 64 percent is recyclable, and yet ends up in our landfills, which are nearing capacity. H. 485 addresses this growing challenge by creating phased-in mandatory recycling and composting. Over the next few years, it requires waste haulers to also collect leaf and yard waste as well as food waste, and prohibits the disposal of recyclable and compostable materials in landfills.
"Vermonters are currently throwing away up to $7.6 million worth of waste that could be recycled or composted," said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears. "H. 485 will help divert this material from the waste stream and away from our crowded landfills."
The universal recycling bill creates phased-in composting requirements starting with the largest processors of produce and eventually applying to any person who generates food waste. It requires that recycling containers be provided in equal number to trash cans in public buildings, including the State House.