Vermont Senate considers relaxing food scrap mandate

Markets Associated Press

The Vermont Senate is considering a bill that would ease some of the requirements of the state's universal recycling law that in two years will mandate that the state's waste haulers pick up food scraps that have been separated from regular garbage.

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The measure being considered in the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee would eliminate a mandate that trash haulers pick up the scraps, which typically makes up about a third of the waste generated by a typical Vermont family.

Orleans County Sen. John Rodgers, a Democrat, introduced the legislation.

"They're not in the food scrap business, they're not in the organics or compost business, and they don't want to be," said Rodgers. "And I don't remember a time we've ever required a business to go into a business it didn't want to."

As part of the 2012 law, designed to reduce the amount of waste in the state's landfills, haulers are being required to pick up recycling, lawn clippings and food scraps.

Vermont Public Radio reports larger restaurants are already required to compost their food scraps and as of 2020 individuals will be barred from disposing of food waste in their regular garbage.

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"We saw the problem right away," said Craig Goodenough, owner of Goodenough Rubbish Removal in Brattleboro. "As far as the mandate, they're forcing these guys into a business that they don't even want to be in."

Chittenden County Solid Waste District director Sarah Reeves said the law is not perfect and it could be a good time to make some changes.

"Any time you're forging a new way, it's hard," said Reeves. "So there are some growing pains. But we're adjusting. And I think some of these tweaks that are being proposed to the law will help us to adjust and will help us get to our goal and reach our goal."

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Information from: WVPS-FM, http://www.vpr.net