The State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging Vermonters to start the new decade with a commitment to trim “waste-lines.” Currently, the average Vermonter disposes over 1,300 pounds of trash per year. Over the next 5-years, the State and municipalities will help Vermonters bring the amount down to about 1,000 pounds each year. Small steps can make a difference in reaching this goal – like composting food scraps.
With the adoption of the 2019 Vermont Materials Management Plan, the State is renewing its “waste-line” pledge to reduce overall waste generation by 10% by 2024. In 2018, Vermonters generated 673,403 tons of waste. The State aims to trim that number to 606,063 tons. The Plan’s 5-year framework outlines actions the State, solid waste districts and towns, and citizens can take to prevent waste from being generated. It also expands reuse, recycling, and composting efforts to attain Vermont’s statewide goals.
“This Plan combines ambitious goals with practical tactics to reduce trash generation,” says Cathy Jamieson, Manager for DEC’s Solid Waste Program. “With recent upheaval in recycling markets, it is more important than ever for Vermonters to find ways to cut back on the amount of trash we produce. Our long-term goal is to consume fewer resources, waste less, and reuse more. This plan is our roadmap to make that happen.”
The new Plan details how the State and municipalities, including Solid Waste Districts and Alliances, will reduce the amount and toxicity of Vermont’s waste. Solid Waste Districts and Alliances help their communities reduce waste and provide information about trash, recycling, composting, and hazardous waste, including hauling services, drop-off centers, and fees. The State will partner with Districts and towns to provide outreach and education to businesses and schools, public media campaigns, recycling and compost market development, and continue statewide collection of household hazardous waste.
“When we reduce the amount of waste we have to manage, we save resources and reduce our dependence on landfills. Less waste also means fewer greenhouse gas emissions,” says Cassandra Hemenway, Outreach Manager at Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District. “Small changes to your habits can have big results – for example, bring reusable bags and mugs every time you shop and eat all your leftovers. Make reduce, reuse, recycle your 2020 mantra.”