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Composting Food Has Just Become Law in Vermont

Posted on: August 6th, 2020

Composting Food Becomes Law in Vermont

According to the EPA’s webpage Composting At Home, “Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 28 percent of what we throw away and should be composted instead.”

The State of Vermont understands and supports the practice of composting, in fact, it’s now the law. As of July 1, 2020, Vermonters are now breaking the law if they toss leftover kitchen scraps such as peels, cores, eggshells and other waste into the garbage. It is now required that residents and businesses either bring such compostable items to professional facilities for processing or to create composting piles themselves.

Called the Food Scrap Ban, local officials are relying on the honor system when it comes to resident’s participation. According to the University of Vermont, 72% of Vermonters were already composting food scraps before the ban went in place, therefore, they’re hopeful remaining residents will have no issue complying.

For several decades, states officials have been trying to divert as much food waste as possible to facilities where it can be properly composted and reused. But the efforts have been disappointing thus far, reaching only 36% to date.

Josh Kelly, the Materials Management Section Chief with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources says, “The only way you can really bring that down is by focusing on the food waste issue.”

According the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, food is the single largest category of material found in municipal landfills in the United States. There, it emits methane – a powerful and harmful greenhouse gas. Municipal solid waste landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 14.1 percent of these emissions.

The EPA understands that not everyone has the space for outdoor composting piles and recommends the following. “If you do not have space for an outdoor compost pile, you can compost materials indoors using a special type of bin, which you can buy at a local hardware store, gardening supplies store or make yourself.” Additional information on indoor composting can be found on the EPA’s website.

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