Main Street Middle School in Montpelier served as the backdrop for the event, with enthusiastic kids from the Green Team on hand to cheer on the process. The school has run a successful composting program for 10 years.
“We are excited to unveil these universal symbols in time for America Recycles day,” said Cathy Jamieson, Agency of Natural Resources Solid Waste Program Manager. “They’re designed to be used everywhere: in public places, schools, businesses, curbside containers, even dumpsters.” Jamieson hopes this will contribute towards consistent messaging nationally as several major cities have adopted the same color scheme.
The state formed a team to come up with the symbols, drawing from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, several of Vermont’s solid waste management entities, Highfields Center for Composting, Casella Resource Solutions, Myers Container Service, and other interested parties.
“We’re glad to have a new set of tools to help the system work as the new recycling and composting mandates are phased in throughout the state,” noted Tom Moreau, General Manager of the Chittenden Solid Waste District. “Recycling is already mandatory in Chittenden County and these symbols will help our businesses and residents gear up for a successful transition to mandatory composting by 2020.”
The new law requires statewide recycling by July 2015, and phases in a ban on food scraps from landfills through July 2020. Once fully implemented, the law is expected to increase Vermont’s recycling and composting rate from 30% to 60%.
“The Universal Recycling law is great for Vermont. It will create jobs as we build the infrastructure, develop new products, and start new businesses to help us manage our waste as a resource. It will also keep us from having to use costly landfill space for materials that still have value,” said ANR Secretary Deb Markowitz. “Managing our waste as a resource will also reduce Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions by keeping organic materials out of the landfill.”
More information on Act 148 and the symbols are available for download at ANR’s Waste Management program website and on CSWD’s Act 148 webpage. Solid waste haulers, transfer stations and drop off centers, towns, businesses, schools, and the general public are encouraged to use the symbols to label their recycling, composting and trash containers.