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Universal Recycling for Haulers

Act 148, a landmark universal recycling law, was passed by the Vermont Legislature in June of 2012. Among other things the law bans mandated recyclables from the landfill and requires the phased-in ban on leaf and yard debris, food scraps and clean wood from the landfill.  The goal of this law is to increase diversion of valuable materials from the waste stream and provide convenient and consistent recycling and disposal options to Vermont residents and businesses.  All haulers who provide trash collection will eventually be required to offer collection of recyclables leaf and yard debris, and food scraps or sub-contract with another hauler to provide these services to their customers. 

Vermont residents and businesses will be looking to you, their solid waste haulers for assistance and information with their waste reduction needs.  The staff of the VT DEC Solid Waste Program and Solid Waste Management Entities of Vermont (solid waste districts and alliances) will collaborate with you to provide this assistance.   More detailed information regarding statewide meetings and outreach tools such as flyers and posters will be made available to you in the coming months.

Image courtesy of Highfields Center for Composting

 

Resources for Haulers

Find out more about this recent legislation.

 

ANR letter to haulers of solid waste in Vermont about Universal Recycling. (PDF)

Summary of Universal Recycling features for Haulers (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions about Universal Recycling for Haulers

FAQs handout (PDF)

Standardized recycling, food scraps, and trash symbols

Symbols developed for recycling, food scraps, and trash material streams were developed to be used state-wide to increase consistency and convenience for Vermonters.  This are intended to be used by businesses, haulers, facilities, and any place where these materials are produced and  managed.

Statewide Directory of Food Scrap Haulers (PDF)

A list of solid waste transporters that haul food scraps that includes the towns served and contact information. ANR does not assume any liability for the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in this list, and listing does not constitute an endorsement. If you haul food scraps and want to be added to this list, please contact Josh Kelly at josh.kelly@state.vt.us.

DRAFT Variable Rate Pricing Guide (Word)

A draft document outlining guidelines for Variable Rate Pricing (or "Unit-Based Pricing," "Pay As You Throw," etc.). See also a Sample Ordinance for Variable Rate Pricing (Word) that has been drafted as a guide for municipalities and solid waste management districts.

Parallel Collection Fact Sheet for Haulers and Facilities

With the Universal Recycling law in place, a recycling option should be available wherever trash is collected. This is parallel collection. Read more about it with this fact sheet.

Universal Recycling Resources

A collection of resources that may be helpful to implement Universal Recycling.

Agricultural Plastics Recycling Pilot Program by Casella Resource Solutions

Learn more about how you can participate in a FREE, experimental recycling program running February 1st to April 30th, 2014.

Solid waste management entity contact list

Universal Recycling (Act 148) requirements are in addition to any solid waste management entity mandates or ordinances.  Please check with your solid waste management entity to ensure full compliance with regional mandates. Use the map and contact list above to identify your solid waste management entity.

Landfill Bans (PDF)

A flyer listing the materials that are banned from landfill disposal by the State of Vermont.

Timeline for Haulers

 

Listed Recyclables:

  • Must be collected at facilities starting July 1, 2014
  • Must be collected at curbside by haulers starting July , 2015
  • Must be collected at curbside by municipalities starting July 1, 2015 (with unit based pricing)
  • Must be collected in public spaces (alongside trash containers) starting July 1, 2015
  • Banned from landfill disposal starting July 1, 2015

Leaf and Yard Debris:

  • Must be collected at facilities starting July 1, 2015
  • Must be collected at curbside by haulers starting July 1, 2016
  • Banned from landfill disposal starting July 1, 2016

Clean Wood Debris:

  • Banned from landfill disposal starting July 1, 2016

Food Scraps:

  • Generators of 104 tons/year must separate food scraps starting July 1, 2014
  • Generators of 52 tons/year must separate food scraps starting July 1, 2015
  • Generators of 26 tons/year must separate food scraps starting July 1, 2016
  • Generators of 18 tons/year must separate food scraps starting July 1, 2017
  • Must be collected at facilities starting July 1, 2017
  • Must be collected at curbside by haulers starting July 1, 2017
  • Banned from the landfill starting July 1, 2020

 

Universal Recycling listed recyclables include:

  • Aluminum and steel cans
  • Aluminum foil and aluminum pie pans
  • Glass bottles and jars from foods and beverages
  • PET and HDPE plastic bottles and jugs
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • White and mixed paper
  • Newspaper, magazines, catalogues, paper mail, and envelopes
  • Box board

 

How facilities & haulers can charge for new services

Facilities cannot charge a separate fee for the collection of listed recyclables from residential customers, but they can charge commercial haulers for this service. Facilities can also charge for the collection of leaf and yard debris and food scraps.

Haulers cannot charge a separate fee for the collection of listed recyclables from residential customers, but the costs of collecting these items can be included in residential trash collection fees. Haulers can also charge for the collection of leaf and yard debris and food scraps.

The law requires municipalities to implement unit based pricing (based on volume or weight) for their residential customers starting July 1, 2015.  Haulers will also be required to utilize the unit based pricing systems that are implemented by municipal entities (including solid waste districts, towns and town groups).  

ANR will review facility and hauler residential rate structures to ensure that rates are transparent to customers.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I required to pick up recycling?

Yes. Starting July 1, 2015, all solid waste haulers (whose vehicles have a payload of more than 1 ton) must also offer pickup of recyclables, unless municipal collection is already available for the area you service. You may not charge a separate fee for recycling pickup. However, you may increase your trash hauling fees to cover the cost of picking up recyclables. You may also subcontract these services to another hauler. The recyclables you must pick up include cans, aluminum foil and pie tins, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles and jugs (made of PET and HDPE), corrugated cardboard, white and colored paper, newspaper, magazines, catalogs, paper mail and envelopes, boxboard, and paper bags.

Am I required to pick up food scraps and leaf/yard debris?

Yes. Starting July 1, 2016, all solid waste haulers who pick up trash from residential and commercial customers will be required to include pickup services for leaf/yard debris. Starting July 1, 2017, all solid waste haulers will also be required to include pickup services for food scraps. You may charge separate fees for these services, and you may also subcontract these services to another hauler.

If I run a bag drop, what are my rules for food scraps and leaf/yard debris?    

As with your current fast-trash operation, you will be required to remove all trash, recycling, food scraps, and leaf/yard debris from your collection site by the next business day. More guidance for fast-trash operators will be coming soon from the Agency of Natural Resources.

Do I need to pick up recycling and food scraps every time I pick up trash?

No. The frequency of pickups does not need to be the same for all materials. Haulers may choose to pick up recyclables along with, or alternating with, regular trash. While there are no rules for frequency of food scrap pickup, we recommend that haulers pick up food scraps on at least a weekly basis to reduce and discourage odors, insects, rodents and wildlife. Large commercial customers may need to have their food scraps picked up more often due to larger quantity or space limitations.

Are there a certain number of times each year or season that I’m expected to offer pickup of leaf/yard debris?

The law does not include any specific requirements here. More detailed guidance will be coming soon from the Agency of Natural Resources.

Is anyone going to enforce the landfill bans on recyclables, food scraps, leaf/yard debris and clean wood debris?

Yes. The Agency of Natural Resources does have enforcement authority under 10 V.S.A. Section 8003(a), and some solid waste management entities may also have enforcement authority under local laws. However, education and outreach will be the primary method of implementing Universal Recycling. 

What happens if all of our competitors don’t offer pickup of recyclables, food scraps, and leaf/yard debris as required by the law? Doesn’t this give them a price advantage? And what can we do about it?

If you discover that certain haulers are not following the law, you will be able to file a complaint with the Agency of Natural Resources.

What can I do if my customer leaves banned material at the curb?

You have two options. You can leave the banned material at the curb along with a notice indicating why it’s being left behind and instructions on what the customer needs to do in order for you to pick it up (i.e. sort the materials properly or put them back out on the designated day). Or you can pick up the material separately, provide a notice in your invoice that the materials were sorted improperly, and indicate if an additional fee has been added as a result.

If my customers put banned materials in their trash and I haul it to the dump without knowing it, will I face a penalty, fine, or other actions?

No. The law only prohibits individuals and companies from knowingly disposing of banned materials in the solid waste stream destined for the landfill (dumpsters, trash cans, trash bags, etc). However, if you do dispose of banned materials with full awareness, enforcement may include fines, revocation of your state waste transporter permit, or other actions.

Will we be provided with educational materials on the Universal Recycling Law (Act 148) to give to our customers?

Yes. The Agency of Natural Resources is developing educational materials; once completed, these will be posted on the ANR website and, if requested, distributed to haulers to include in customer invoices, mailings, etc.

What is, and is not, allowed in terms of customer fees for these new required services?

The Universal Recycling Law (Act 148) does not dictate hauler prices, but there are some general guidelines. (1) Haulers can’t charge separate fees for pickup of Act 148 listed recyclables. (2) You can, however, increase your prices for trash collection to offset the cost of collecting recyclables. But if you do this, you should clearly explain the cost increase to your customers so your new rate structure is transparent. (3) You are allowed to charge separate fees for the collection of food scraps and leaf/yard debris. (4) All municipalities, as well as haulers that operate within those municipalities, must implement unit-based pricing (also known as Pay-As-You-Throw or variable-rate pricing), in which charges to residential customers are based on the volume or weight of the material collected.

I’m considering handling the pickup of food scraps and leaf/yard debris myself. What permits do I need?

You must obtain a Solid Waste Haulers Permit from the State of Vermont, and you must also comply with local hauler licensing requirements in your solid waste management entity.

Is there any financial assistance available to help small haulers purchase equipment for hauling food scraps and leaf/yard debris?

There are no grants available at this time. But the Agency of Natural Resources will pass along information on potential low-interest financing opportunities as they become available. You might also check with your local solid waste management entity to see if they have any funding or financing options.

I haul with a truck that has a payload (rated capacity) of 1 ton or less, and I don’t currently have to get a state solid waste hauling permit. Does that mean I am also exempt from the hauling requirements in Act 148?

Yes. However, you are not exempt from the landfill bans on listed recyclables, food scraps, and leaf/yard debris, which apply to every business and resident in the state on specific dates. Exemptions are available, but you must apply to the state or your local solid waste entity. However, there are very few trucks that actually have payloads of 1 ton or less. In fact, some pickup trucks sold as ¾-ton are actually rated as more than 1 ton with payload, and would therefore NOT be exempt from the hauling requirements. If you are using a pickup truck of any kind, we strongly urge you to check with the Agency of Natural Resources to verify whether or not your vehicle is exempt.

Please note the new contact information:

New phone numbers: click here

For more information, contact:

Mia Roethlein, Environmental Analyst IV

mia.roethlein@state.vt.us

802-522-5926

VT ANR/ DEC
Waste Management & Prevention Division, Solid Waste Program
1 National Life Drive - Davis 1, Montpelier, VT  05620-3704

 
QUICK LINKS
 

 

 
VT DEC Waste Management & Prevention Division 1 National Life Drive - Davis 1  Montpelier, VT  05620-3704  Tele: 802-828-1138   Fax: 802-828-1011

 

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