Legislators are exploring expanding several of Vermont’s recycling laws dealing with single-use plastics by making producers responsible for managing plastics at the end of their lives. These are called extended producer responsibilities and we’ve used them in Vermont in the past with waste like electronics and batteries. Lawmakers are looking into using EPRs with plastic waste, as well.
Advocates are also trying to incentivize recycling by updating the state’s bottle bill. Vermont’s bottle bill began about 45 years ago as an effort to clean up our streets and highways. It has since grown to be one of the state’s biggest recycling programs.
Advocates want to increase the refund for returning bottles as well as accepting water, wine and sports drink bottles. “We need to find ways of getting material into that circular system. And the bottle bill, because it has cleaner material, can be used. And this is the plastics industry people saying this, it can be used more readily than other curbside programs to make a new PET bottle for instance,” said Paul Burns of VPIRG.