Vermont's Recycling Initiative

Published Feb 09, 2021

Vermont's Universal recycling seeks to minimize the volume of waste disposed of and improve the state's recycling and composting levels through a timetabled process that began in 2012 and ends in 2020. 

Recycled materials save money while reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Vermont believes universal recycling would result in, saving valuable energy and encouraging sustainability, decreasing GHG emissions by an estimated 37% by 2022. It would support green jobs, the growth of new industries and business opportunities; eliminate the need for landfill sites, and increase the health of our environment. 

Since 2011, Vermonters have been recycling rather than disposing of their electronic waste. Concern over the waste of valuable natural resources and the effect of this waste on global climate change. The Vermont E-Cycles initiative offers free and easy recycling of laptops, monitors, televisions, printers, and electronic peripherals for residents, charities, school districts, and small businesses. Electronic devices include hazardous materials (including lead, mercury, and chromium. Such material should be treated safely, as well as precious metals (such as gold) which should be extracted and recycled so no one or anything is harmed. 

However they didn't stop there a year later they passed another recycling law, in 2012 the Vermont Legislature enacted the Uniform Law on Recyclability (Act 148). It forbids 3 types of Vermonter trash bin materials: "blue bin" recyclable, Leaf and yard debris, and Meat trash (organics; compostable kitchen wastes). The question now is, is the initiative working? 

Vermont's Law on Universal Recycling is successful, trash disposal decreased 5% statewide from 2014 to 2011. Recycling and composting increased by 11,793 tons from 2014 to 2015 (2%). Food donation grew by nearly 40% from 2015-2016, according to the Vermont Foodbank. More Vermonters have access to recycling collection than ever before. “After decades of landfilling more than two-thirds of Vermont’s materials, it is appropriate to shift our focus to recycling, food donation, and composting.”

-Cathy Jamieson, Solid Waste Program Manager