VT Food Scraps Ban

Back in 2012, the State of Vermont Legislature unanimously passed Act 148, better known to locals as the Universal Recycling Law.  The aim of the law was to limit the amount of excess material that was finding its way into VT landfills by simply changing the definition of what is to be considered "waste".

Starting in 2014, the first two major provisions of Act 148 were implemented across the state.  The first mandated that transfer stations and trash companies that accept rubbish also start to accept recyclables.  The second provision was directed towards companies that produced 2 tons/week of food scraps such as restaurants, hotels and cafes.  As of July 1, 2014, those businesses were required to divert all organic food scrap materials to certified facilities within 20 miles of their location. 

A year later, all recyclables were officially banned from landfills and the threshold for food scrap diversion was lowered to 1 ton/week.  Additionally, all public buildings were now required to provide recycling containers alongside trash containers in all public spaces.  For haulers who offer residential trash pickup, the requirement was now that they offer recycling collection at no additional charge to consumers.  The next two years (2016 & 2017) saw continued progress in limiting excess waste by banning leaf, yard and clean wood debris from landfills and lowering the threshold for businesses that produce food scraps to 1/3 ton/week.

The final provision of the Universal Recycling Law was implemented on July 1, 2020 which banned the disposal of food scraps in all Vermont trash and landfills.  Now, in addition to businesses that produce food scraps, residents must no longer include organic food scraps in traditional residential trash containers.  According to guidance provided by the VT Department of Environmental Conservation, residents now have three options when it comes to proper disposal of food scraps...

  1. Hire a hauler to pick up food scraps - To find food scrap haulers in your area, check out VTrecycles.com 
  2. Drop off food scraps at a certified transfer station / drop-off facility - To locate the site closest to you, check out 802recycles.com
  3. Compost in the backyard - For more information about actively managing a backyard compost, check out the resource "The Dirt on Compost"      

* NOTE: State law allows residents who are composting in their backyard to continue to dispose of meat and bones in traditional trash containers as to avoid attracting animals.

Below are links to helpful resources that may answer additional questions you may have.  As always, please don't hesitate to reach out our team anytime about anything related to real estate in Vermont, we are here to help!

Food Scraps | Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

VT Universal Recycling Law | Food Scrap Ban Guidance

Residents & Small Businesses | Managing Food Scraps FAQ 

Compost With Confidence | Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

Vermont Certified Food Scrap Facilities | Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

For Landlords | Managing Food Scraps at Rental Properties FAQ | Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

Let's Scrap Food Waste | ScrapFoodWaste.org