Vermont Conducts Waste Composition Study

The Vermont Solid Waste Management Plan identifies critical solid waste management issues facing the state and proposes goals and action plans to address them. A key goal is to "increase Vermont's state wide municipal solid waste diversion rate to 50 percent by the year 2005." The Agency of Natural Resources estimates that to achieve this goal, the amount of municipal solid waste diverted (through prevention, reuse, recycling or composting) must increase from approximately 193,000 tons in 1999 to more than 300,000 tons in 2005.

One step toward reaching that goal is to better understand the composition of solid waste in Vermont, so the Agency, solid waste districts, towns and private businesses can target recycling and composting programs to take advantage of these materials. Information from this study will also be valuable when developing any new approaches to marketing of recyclables, packaging and bottle bill legislative initiatives as well as diverting household hazardous waste and landfill banned waste from disposal.

The Agency has contracted with DSM Environmental Services (DSM) of Ascutney to design the study and perform waste composition sampling at the Waste USA landfill in Coventry at the Burlington Area Transfer Station (WSI) in Williston. DSM will repeat the sampling at both sites again late in the fall.

Samples of both commercial and residential municipal solid waste delivered to the facility will be sorted into 22 categories with additional sub-sorts (such as bottle deposit materials) for several of the categories. The design of the study will provide an opportunity to evaluate the composition of municipal solid waste in urban/suburban areas versus more rural parts of the state, commercial versus residential sources and seasonal variations. DSM will also estimate the composition of construction and demolition waste through visual inspections of loads delivered to each facility. A report will be prepared by DSM during the winter of 2002, upon completion of data collection and evaluation.

For more information on the Vermont study, please contact: Julie Hackbarth, Waste Management Division, Agency of Natural Resources, (802) 241-3446.

Reprinted with permission from the Northeast Recycling Council online newsletter, October issue.

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