Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law
“An act relating to establishing the universal recycling of solid waste.”
In 2012, the Vermont Legislature unanimously passed the Universal Recycling Law (Act 148), which effectively bans disposal of three major types of waste materials commonly found in Vermonters’ trash bins. The three major types of waste are:
- “Blue bin” recyclables
- Leaves, yard debris & clean wood
- Food scraps
What Are Blue Bin Recyclables?
- Cardboard & boxboard
- Paper, newspaper, mail, greeting cards, magazines, phone books
- Plastic containers #1-7; no caps
- Aluminum cans, tin foil
- Glass bottles & jars
All of the items listed above must be rinsed and free of food waste. Once cleaned, they can be placed in your recycling bin.
What is Leaf & Yard Debris & Clean Wood?
Leaves, grass clippings, annuals and other plant related waste can not be thrown in with your trash. Clean wood is defined as brush, sticks, Christmas Trees, and dimensional lumber (free of paint, stains, nails & staples) and can not be placed in your trash can. There are several options available to you for removing leaves, yard debris and clean wood from your home or business. The options are:
- Bring the material to the Cambridge Drop-off facility (they have a designated container)
- Compost them in your back yard
- Reuse left over dimensional lumber or use as kindling wood if you have a wood stove
- Bring them to one of the collection events held at the Fairfax Town Garage
- Contact a solid waste hauler and arrange pick up from your home or business
What About Food Scraps?
As of July 1, 2020, food scraps will be banned from disposal for all Vermont residents. Food scraps include left over vegetables, fruit, egg shells, dairy products, breads and grains, coffee grounds, teabags, and condiments. The law does not include meat scraps and bones, so those items can still be disposed of in your trash. There are several options available to you for managing your food scraps. Your options are:
- Donate unwanted food to the Fairfax Community Food Shelf (located at the United Church of Fairfax)
- Compost food scraps at home using a compost bin
- Bring food scraps to a chicken or pig farmer (no meat for pigs!)
- Starting July 1, 2017, you may bring your food scraps to the Cambridge Drop-off facility or Highgate Transfer Station
- Starting July 1, 2018, your local solid waste hauler may offer curbside collection for food scraps
The best way to manage food scraps is to minimize the amount of food that you purchase. This way, you avoid throwing away food that is spoiled or expired.