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Vermont Bans Plastic Bags, Mandates Composting Instead of Throwing Out Food Scraps

Vermont Bans Plastic Bags, Mandates Composting Instead of Throwing Out Food Scraps

You will only get a plastic straw if you ask for it, plastic stirrers will be ” of a different material”

Back in 2012, Vermont passed a law that banned people from throwing out food scraps, forcing people to throw them in the compost.

That law went into effect on July 1 along with a statewide ban on plastic bags.

I use the compost and I only put in fruit, veggies, and eggshells. Vermont is requiring people to also throw in coffee grounds and tea bags along with “plate scraps:”

  • Bread
  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Sweets
  • Sauces
  • Expired Food

From The Takeout:

The goal is to redirect 50% of the waste that would have, in the past, gone to landfills. So now instead of dumping all their pits, rinds, scraps, bones, coffee grounds, and unwanted leftovers into the garbage, Vermont residents will put it all in the composting bin. “If it was once part of something alive, like a plant or animal,” the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation advises on its website, “it does not belong in the landfill.” The state set aside nearly $1 million for grants for composting agencies to buy new equipment and expand their curbside pickup and dropoff services. Even the most isolated Vermonter has a composting facility within 10 miles.

Although there’s a policy in place that requires Vermont officials to go through trash every five years to determine what everybody’s tossing (what a great job!), nobody will be digging through anyone’s individual garbage bin. “Instead,” Fast Company reports, “officials are asking for voluntary compliance—and they expect to get it, based on how seriously Vermonters take their environmentalism.”

People do not have to compost in their backyard. They can drop off food scraps or facilities or “ask their trash hauler if they provide food scrap collection.”

The Vermont Retail & Grocers Association wanted to postpone the plastic bag ban because of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. Vermont hates plastic in general:

But the Vermont Health Department gave reusable bags the OK and lawmakers stuck with the original date.

Starting Wednesday, food and service establishments will no longer be giving out plastic carryout bags. Exceptions include loose items in a store like meat, flowers or nuts and coffee.

Shoppers will have to bring a reusable bag or pay 10 cents for a paper bag.

The law goes beyond the checkout line. Plastic straws will now be by request, plastic stirrers will be replaced with a stirrer of a different material and stores will no longer be offering polystyrene as an option for egg cartons or trays.

[Featured image via YouTube]


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Isn’t a landfill just a big compost pile?

    rabid wombat in reply to james h. | July 11, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Dad always said if recycling was so efficient, why are they not mining dumps?

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to james h. | July 11, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Follow the money.

    Some are making millions off of those cheap, Communist Chinese made plastic recycle bins oh, and the politicians are getting big bribes.

‘Although there’s a policy in place that requires Vermont officials to go through trash every five years to determine what everybody’s tossing (what a great job!), nobody will be digging through anyone’s individual garbage bin. “Instead,” Fast Company reports, “officials are asking for voluntary compliance—and they expect to get it, based on how seriously Vermonters take their environmentalism.”’

Nice try, Pinocchio. If some Soviet bureaucrat takes offense at your MAGA bumpersticker or lack of BLM flag, then they will crawl up your derrière with a microscope looking for something to charge you with.

One way dictatorship maintain control is to have so many laws that it is impossible through everyday activities to avoid breaking them. This creates a sense of guilt, and gives the dictators a legal excuse to crush you.

LibraryGryffon | July 11, 2020 at 12:24 pm

So now Vermonters will have three (or more) bins at the curb, inorganic trash, recyclables (single or multi-stream), and compostables?

As representatives of the Green Mountain Chapter of the IBRB (International Brotherhood of Raccoons and Bears), we approve of this message.

This is really just more progressive virtue-signaling.

It’s common for sewage treatment plants to process the solids found in sewage to generate methane and power from that methane. Many such plants are “self powered” through the use of this technology.

Laws requiring that citizens stop sending compostable materials down the drain and instead put it in their back yards will reduce the amount of power their sewage plants can self-generate, and require them to use (GASP!) carbon-based power sources.

p.s. Meat should not go on a compost pile.

    pst314 in reply to Paul. | July 11, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    I like the idea, but I have heard that some municipalities have banned garbage disposers because they cause problems with the sewage–too many solids?
    If any readers know more about this I’d welcome comments.

      Paul in reply to pst314. | July 11, 2020 at 1:41 pm

      It’s not an “idea”

      It’s widely used technology, in use at thousands of wastewater treatment plants around the country today.

        pst314 in reply to Paul. | July 11, 2020 at 4:26 pm

        I did not mean that it is not a real technology. I merely asked if anybody knew more about the claimed technical reasons why some communities have banned waste disposers.

          Edward in reply to pst314. | July 11, 2020 at 5:22 pm

          I know we don’t put more solids down the disposal than the toilet. Sort of a strange household which would. Even though we have a septic system, I never gave any thought to keeping stuff out of the disposal to reduce the solids. I guess if they ran everything into the disposal which could possibly go through a disposal (e.g. put corn husks [cobs too?] or watermelon rind in the disposal instead of in the trash), they might have more solids from the disposal.

      gibbie in reply to pst314. | July 11, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      I hear that in some left coast city flow restrictors and low flush toilets are causing plugged sewers.

        Paul in reply to gibbie. | July 11, 2020 at 4:26 pm

        It’s not just in some prog city, it’s happening all over the place. Low flow toilets were federally mandated many years ago. The problem is that building codes that have been around for 100+ years have sewer line slope requirements that were engineered on an assumption of a full tank flush. So yeah, sewer line backups related to water conservation fixtures is not uncommon. Not to mention the fact that low flow toilets just can’t get a good, healthy Biden down the pipe with a single flush.

          pst314 in reply to Paul. | July 11, 2020 at 4:28 pm

          Thanks. I did not realize that this was a problem in America; I had only heard about it in Germany.

          Edward in reply to Paul. | July 11, 2020 at 5:29 pm

          Don’t replace older toilets unless absolutely necessary (e.g. somebody dropped something on it and broke it). Those low flows which limit the water with a short overflow pipe – add to the pipe. Have a plastic bucket in the tank to limit flow, remove it. There are agro-engineering answers to most problems like this.

          This advice is obviously for those who own their home.

Since the government is so enamored with composting, I suggest that the people dump all of their food scraps on the lawn of their nearest legislator.

The Friendly Grizzly | July 11, 2020 at 12:46 pm

In a year or so, there will be Commissions, hearings, testimony, and more laws regarding rodent control.

Question: are garbage disposal units illegal in Vermont?

    amatuerwrangler in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | July 11, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Possession of an In-Sink-erator” will be a felony.

    If you are on a septic system, not “city sewer”, only you and the guy on the honey truck will know for sure.

      gospace in reply to amatuerwrangler. | July 11, 2020 at 5:22 pm

      Most of us on septic know better than to have a garbage disposal. My dog handles most of the food waste. The rest goes out in the garbage can. None of my rural neighbors compost. A few burn their trash- which is, BTW, unlawful. yet- no one turns them in!

You do not put meat or bones in a compost pile; vegetable matter *ONLY*.

    Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Virginia puts dead animals in his compost piles, like entire cows.

    healthguyfsu in reply to jeffweimer. | July 11, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    Why not?

    Blood meal and fish emulsion are common ingredients in fertilizers.

    Protein-rich meats provide nitrogen. Bones and shells provide calcium and phosphorus. Blood provides iron.

    All of these are components of rich soils.

My2centshere | July 11, 2020 at 1:26 pm

My nutty Gov actually made it illegal to give out plastic bags then Covid hit and bam we have single use bags back. oh and they charge 5 cents per bag. Idiots.

Dolce Far Niente | July 11, 2020 at 1:29 pm

No meats, fats or dairy; Composting 101.

“If it was once part of something alive, like a plant or animal,” the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation advises on its website, “it does not belong in the landfill.”

“Once part of something alive” would include lumber, plaster, old engine oil, and, of course, plastics.

nordic_prince | July 11, 2020 at 2:04 pm

Meat in a compost pile? That’s all kinds of stupid right there. Sounds like something a city slicker would come up with.

Bruce Hayden | July 11, 2020 at 2:06 pm

Here, they have banned (highly unsanitary) reusable grocery bags. Hope a bunch of environmental wackos in VT get what they are demanding there.

We spend our time between rural MT and PHX. Here in MT, Everything vegetable in nature is dumped off the front porch, to the delight of our local obligate herbivores, such as the pre-venisons (deer) that hang out in the yard. Except for white bread, that none of the wildlife will eat. Some vegetables though, such as peppers and cherry tomatoes, need to be cut open first. Nothing (besides white bread) lasts for more than 48 hours. Works great. Meat though is a different problem. Several years ago, my wife insisted that I throw some out behind the house. About midnight, we heard a bunch of noise off the back porch. Seems that a large omnivore, of the ursine persuasion, had discovered the meat. Since then I have been allowed to take any discarded meat down by the highway, safely away from human habitation.

Then, in the fall, we head south. She inevitably tries to continue her recycling. But not only do we not have Cervidae in the yard, the HOA takes notice, and that is never good.

    gospace in reply to Bruce Hayden. | July 11, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    Your wildlife must be spoiled. If I were to throw a loaf of white bread outside before I went to bed- it would be gone before I woke up. Birds love it.

So, for those of us who live in rental apartment complexes, do we get an exemption, or is the Property Owner required to create a ‘community compost pile’?

drednicolson | July 11, 2020 at 2:14 pm

Compost formation produces heat. Fats are flammable.

Meat and bones attract scavengers who aren’t as picky about what they eat.

The extra salt and nitrates in many processed foods are more likely to poison the soil than nourish it. See Rome, Carthage.

What could possibly go wrong? 😐

I was raised to finish my plate. There’s people starving in Africa (STILL!!)

Compost ingredients are broken down by microorganisms, which require aerobic conditions (the presence of oxygen) to thrive. Frequent turning of the pile with a shovel or pitchfork provides this necessary oxygen (see References 2). Meat, however, attracts microorganisms requiring anaerobic (the absence of oxygen) conditions for decomposition.

You need two separate systems otherwise the conditions for plant composting cause animal products to rot brining disease bearing systems. See the issues in war time with unburied or poorly buried bodies.

ugottabekiddinme | July 11, 2020 at 3:34 pm

Seattle tried this a few years ago, but the stupid rules required that the compost bin be within 3 feet of the curb on pickup day, or the truck drove past.

The building I was in had no manager on site, and no one cared enough to move the darn thing, so in the summer it sat there overflowing and rotting in the heat. Rodents, etc., proliferated. Management did nothing.

I soon moved out of that stinking city, not the least reason being the incredibly stupid compostoing mandate.

Wonderful. I understand that coffee grounds, by the way, are toxic.

    artichoke in reply to txvet2. | July 11, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    My espresso machine makes a lot of coffee grounds. I pour them out over the top of my compost pit/pile to make it black, hopefully it gets a bit hotter that way by absorbing light energy. But it’s fine, even a normal addition to a compost pile.

    Anything can go in there, pretty much. Except meat. And Vermont is requiring meat to go in there. Braindead.

Louis Davout | July 11, 2020 at 4:05 pm

So when will they allow us to compost the corrupt politicians that come up with these harebrained ideas?

The Friendly Grizzly | July 11, 2020 at 4:32 pm

Using the mindset of a politician, I see HUGE opportunities for requiring building permits, and annual fees on composting bins. Also, standards that require buying prefabricated bins with specs met only by manufacturers that offer kickbacks.

I almost forgot: a surtax on items of, pertaining to, or for, composting.

Whatever happened to live free or die?

The suburbs and especially apartments in Burlington are gonna smell to high heaven!

As someone who composts, I know: ONE DOES NOT COMPOST MEAT.

Composting is easy if you have a bit of yard. Have a composting “pit” which is just an area of dirt, stick shovel into ground, push forward to create an open area, jam the waste (non-meat) into the ground with your shoe, and pull out the shovel and cover it over. Do that in the same general area for a year.

Then move to a different area and let that one sit for a year. Part of the breakdown is done by mold, and that mold is poisonous to plants. You need a year for the mold to complete its work and die off. Then you can use that compost.

But no meat!! Meat decomposes anaerobically, and veg. matter decomposes aerobically. Putting them together just creates a mess.

Dave Sweeny | July 12, 2020 at 1:47 pm

Growing up in the 1940’s, we had the first compost heap in town, with a 4-inch center pipe to release heat. The compost was eventually plowed under as fertilizer for the vegetables we grew. We also had the first worm-pit. My mother was the secretary for the local Gardening club. The annual garden show was held at our house, and the number of unusual plants and flowers drew big crowds. My folks loved to garden; it was their pastime after work.
My wife and I did the same thing in the 1990’s. We raised our children in the country on a Gentleman’s farm. But the agricultural life is not for everyone; we also need industry, advanced education and the urban communities that make industry possible.
My wife’s family, still in Communist Cuba, is now told the same message, compost your garbage, but with the rest of the story added. Cuba is an economic disaster. The country imports 2/3’s of their food, but they’ve run out of free money from Russia and Venezuela. So, now the Cuban Peasants are also told, “Compost every scrap of organic material, then grow your own vegetables where-ever you can garden, or face starvation. They even grow vegetables indoors now, to keep people from stealing them. Lesson learned?

Here in Anchorage they did away with the plastic bags and started charging 10 cents for the paper bags, and that 10 cents is a punishment fee. It isn’t for the bag.
Reusable bags were to be the solution.
Now with the China Virus, we have our plastic bags back.
Dragging extra stuff into the store was a dumb idea from the start.

This is not unreasonable. Reducing waste is a good idea. As a “right wing extremist” (anyone who votes Trump) I actually agree with Vermont.