Too lazy to carry your banana peel or avocado pit to your compost bin? You’re breaking the law, at least in Vermont. The Green Mountain State is the first state to pass a law requiring businesses and residents to compost.
Anything that was once alive — including orange rinds, bones, egg shells, coffee grounds, grass and leaves — are banned from Vermont landfills as of July 1. In the past, yard debris and food scraps have made up nearly a quarter of the waste from a typical Vermont residence. At cafeterias and restaurants, more than half the waste was food scraps. When all of this old food hits the landfill, it decomposes slowly and produces the powerful greenhouse gas methane.
Instead, when food scraps are composted, their valuable nutrients can boost soil health. Unlike smelly food scraps, finished compost is a highly sought-after commodity for use in landscaping, gardens and farms.
“Vermont is ahead of the curve because we have such a strong agricultural base, it makes it a no-brainer for us,” Cat Buxton, a Vermont-based compost consultant, told the Valley News. “We have a lot of people who know how to manage organic waste of all kinds and they’ve been doing it for a long time.”
The new law, called the Food Scrap Ban, could create more jobs for food scrap haulers and others in the waste industry. However, the state won’t be hiring enforcers to troll people’s bins for peach pits. It is counting on voluntary compliance. Before the law came into effect, 72% of Vermont residents composted at home or saved leftovers for livestock, according to a University of Vermont study.
To help people get started, the official Vermont state website offers tips on choosing composting receptacles, containing odors, composting in the yard, cutting down on food waste and keeping your food scraps safe from bears.
“From a climate change and greenhouse gas perspective, this is huge,” Josh Kelly of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources said of the state’s efforts to boost composting. “In addition, it puts our waste to work. It puts it into a job-creating system where you are creating a product that is being processed and made into something and it’s not disposed of.”
Via Huffington Post
Image via Ben Kerckx