From the Vernon Solid Waste Committee:
July 1 food scrap recycling changes
On July 1, the final phase of Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law (Act 148) goes into effect, meaning that all food scraps are to be kept out of the landfills. And Vernon is ready!
What to do with your food scraps now:
Many Vernon residents have been complying with the new mandate for years, either by making compost in their own back yards, or by taking their organic wastes to the town’s drop-off site at the town garage on Rte.142, the C.O.W. bins (Composting Organic Waste). And some people make use of both methods, because the material in the bins is hauled to an industrial scale composting facility that can accept organic materials such as meat and dairy products. Such materials can attract wildlife, or they will not break down in a backyard bin. In other words, after you feed your private compost heap, you still have more organics in your trash that can be composted at a larger facility. And if you take those materials to the bins, you won’t need so many PAYT bags.
So take another look at the flyer that was delivered to your mailbox this past week and read again the list of compostable materials that can go in those bins. Also, please pay attention to what should NOT go in the bins.
Composting is good! Really, you ask? Well let us tell you:
It saves taxpayers’ money.
- Those materials that could have been composted have been taking up a huge amount of space in the landfills. According to the Vermont DEC website (dec.vermont.gov), food alone is the largest single material going into landfills. Landfill space is rapidly being used up and the cost of dumping in them is rapidly rising. It costs more now to dump than it does to make compost.
It doesn’t harm the environment.
- When organic materials are buried and compacted in the landfill, decomposition is slowed, oxygen is excluded, and methane gas is generated. Methane is a very damaging greenhouse gas, 25 times more potent in heating the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Yes, that’s 25 times!
- Composting is the ultimate in recycling. All those organic wastes can be collected and processed at less cost, with little to no environmental damage, and transformed into a wonderfully restorative substance with multiple uses. It gets spread on gardens, landscapes, and farms. It restores nutrients and health to the soil without costly chemical fertilizers. It’s safe for people and animals to be in contact with. It’s a healthy, safe alternative that helps us solve a range of environmental problems. What’s not to love?
So, if you’re new to this, how do you start?
Well, you can start in your own kitchen and the key is separation. Just find a container with a lid that you can use to collect those food scraps (again, check the list on the flyer) and put all your scraps into it. Add those greasy paper towels, tea bags, etc. and you’ll be surprised how fast it fills up. You could also set aside somewhere a paper bag or other container for larger “dry compostable” materials, like pizza boxes and used paper plates, that aren’t wet or as messy, but can still be put in the C.O.W. bins. If you designate a convenient place to put the stuff, you’ll find it easier to develop the habit.
Where to find bags and compost pails:
Some stores put out small compostable bags in their produce departments which you can then reuse in your compost pail. Or you can buy them by the box at the same store.
Ready-made ventilated kitchen compost pails with lids are available for $10 at the Town Clerk’s office in Vernon. The Windham Solid Waste Management District office on Ferry Rd, Brattleboro also sells kitchen compost pails and backyard compost bins.
For more information:
Some of us have new tricks to learn. If you have questions, need some help, here are some helpful resources: