Solid Waste: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Print More

We hear almost daily about the negative effects of soaring
oil prices on the U.S. Economy. But there’s one industry that’s benefiting from
rising price of fossil fuels: the recycling industry. From old electrical wire to plastic tubs to mercury in fluorescent
bulbs, experts say that market prices and incentives have never been higher for
recycled goods. But despite the fact that our basements are becoming gold mines
full of now-valuable materials, recycling is only one part of the waste
reduction hierarchy: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. In this installment of Vermont Edition, we explore all three.

Chittenden Solid Waste District General Manager Tom Moreau
demystifies the economics, and the do’s and don’ts of recycling around the
state. And Carolyn Grodinsky, Waste Prevention Coordinator for the Vermont
Department of Environmental Conservation, talks about involving manufacturers, institutions —
and everybody else– in generating less trash in the first place. (Listen)

Also, we talk with VPR’s John Dillon about the future of
commercial composting in Vermont,
and how what seemed like a good, green idea has suddenly become more
complicated. (Listen)

And we visit a business in Brattleboro
that specializes in recycled building materials from ‘deconstructed’ homes
and buildings.(Listen)

photos:(top) Workers sort paper at the Chittenden Solid Waste District’s Materials Recovery Facility in Williston.

(left) Store Manager Keith Fletcher, rearranging hardware at ReNew Building Materials and Salvage in Brattleboro.



From Doug in Vershire

Recycling Coordinator in Vershire, I can attest that unfortunately
most of our residents add their recyclable materials to their garbage. They do
this because in Vershire town-issued garbage bags are only 25-cents each and we
have curbside pickup, so there is little incentive for people to make the trip
to the dumpsters on a Saturday morning.

I think
that the state should make recycling mandatory in order to ensure that Vermonters
"do the right thing."

From Nichael in Guilford

While we all applaud the critical issue of recycling, can we please stop casually using the word
"deconstruction"–or worse– "deconstruct" as a verb? It’s bad enough to have to listen to this fad
word used by literary theorists. But to hear it applied to building and other
physical structures is just, well, silly.


From Merry in Woodbury

Glad to listen to this important topic (recycling).I am curious about plans the private sector and the state has for limiting or surcharging for]excessive packaging. As produce growers and distributors and grocers rely more and more on prepackaged items to cut down on waste and shrinkage, Vermonters are confronted with much larger bundles of plastics.


From Simon in Burlington

Why can’t we include plastic bags in our recycling bin? Is there a way to recycle them here? Where my parents live in Minneapolis often grocery stores collect them.


From Morgan in Burlington

I would like to address the way in which recyclables are not integrated with trash removal, at least in Burlington. In my neighborhood on recycling day, you can see one fleet of private haulers picking up trash, and another fleet of city vehicles picking up recyclables. This seems to be a useless duplication of effort in both manpower and especially the additional fuel required to drive a gigantic truck starting and stopping every 50 feet to pick up a small bin of recyclables. At my sister’s house in California, a single vehicle picks up both trash and co-mingled recyclables at the same time. What are we doing to reduce the carbon footprint of recycling activities?


From Steve in Burlington

Let’s thank the kids from Essex Jct., who used their paintball skills to call attention to the need to change to compact fluorescent bulbs last week (by blowing away hundreds of incandescents at a public event, covered by the Free Press). The people at the Statehouse still haven’t got the message. They still use hundreds of the the old, hot incandescent bulbs to illuminate their beautiful House and Senate chambers! But let’s remind everyone to take old CF bulbs to be disposed of properly at their transfer stations. We don’t want that mercury in our landfills!


Comments are closed.