By Martin Langeveld
The Vernon Selectboard has decided not to continue the COW program, under which Dumpster containers have been provided at the Town Garage.
This decision was made on Tuesday, August 18, when the Vernon Select Board met in regular session,. The board met in person at the town offices, with electronic attendance for the public made possible via the Zoom platform.
Members of the Solid Waste Committee were in attendance to provide recommendations concerning the food scrap COW dumpsters located at the Vernon Town Highway Department Garage. Upon review of the information provided by the Solid Waste Committee, Town Treasurer Cindy Turnley, Town Administrator Maggie Tuck-Sauer, Town legal counsel, and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Select Board Member Michael Root made a motion to remove the COW food scrap dumpsters until a legal solution could be found. Select Board Clerk Jean Carr seconded the motion by also stating that a more viable option was needed, in order to protect the town. The motion was carried 4-0.
The Select Board was unwilling to continue a program that was no longer within the limits of current and future state regulations, while also no longer in the budget approved by the tax-payers. The difficult decision to discontinue the COW dumpster program was made after months of researching the legal status of the dumpsters. The State of Vermont is in the process of creating a program that would allow general public use permits under certain circumstances for locked tote-type bins for food scrap use after meeting very specific health, safety, and environmental criteria. Upon meeting these criteria those enrolled in this program would be required to apply for a permit. This program is months away from starting.
In addition, the town’s cost for the COW dumpster had been increased from $115.75 to $280.00 per dumpster per month by the hauling provider. This was far beyond the budget that taxpayers voted for in the 2020 Town Meeting.
The Select Board and Solid Waste Committee are dedicated to finding the most cost-effective and permanent solution for waste disposal.
In the meantime, there are other food scrap composting options within the community. The Windham Solid Waste Management District offers compost drop-off available with a $40 sticker purchase. The sticker is good for a 12-month period that runs from July 1 through June 30, regardless when the sticker is purchased. The sticker permits use of the facility for all types of recycling, but not trash disposal. Stickers may be purchased at the WSWMD scalehouse, at their location on Old Ferry Road, Brattleboro. Information: Windham Solid Waste Management District, (802) 257-0272, 327 Old Ferry RD
Brattleboro VT 05301, https://windhamsolidwaste.org/permits-for-sale-at-the-scalehouse/
Addition information about composting options is available from the Vermont Department of Environmental Resources, click here.