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Polystyrene: Friend or Foam?

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What is Polystyrene?

Polystyrene (PS) is a petroleum-derived material that is labeled #6 for it's recycling code (located on the bottom of most plastics). PS comes in the form of flexible plastic (cups, wares), and hard, brittle foam (packaging, and loose-fill packing peanuts). The latter is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS); StyrofoamTM is the brand name of many foam materials. A more detailed account of what Polystyrene is can be found at this website.

 

What do I do with it?

Polystyrene is NOT recyclable at any location within our district. Some places in VT or Massachusetts will accept it by mail to be recycled, and you must pay the shipping costs. Due to the low density (high volume), it can cost a lot to ship.

There are a few ways to attempt to reuse EPS. Check out the Trash Backwards blog for that and other material repurposing ideas!

Reasons to avoid Polystyrene:

-YOUR HEALTH: and your children's...
Along with the many other plastics that have negative effects on our bodies, especially avoid polystyrene packaging and cups to consume food/drink from. Polystyrene is a known endocrine disruptor, and has high-likelihood of contributing to cancer. Putting hot food/drink in the containers will cause even more migration from foam to your body.

-ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH:
As seen in the photograph at the top of the page, foamed polystyrene tends to break down easier than any other plastic. These small particles get into bodies of water, bodies of animals, and then again- our bodies... This is visibly obvious to most people, but here's an interesting article on its effects on our environment
.

There are few reasons TO use polystyrene. Cheap costs to the individual or business require large subsidies from governments to provide treatment care for the litter and health problems that occur as a result. Check out the alternatives to polystyrene below that are just as effective (and can even cost less). 

Alternatives to Polystyrene:

Bring Your Own Container

Or better yet, pack your lunch or meal when you go out of the house. That way you can avoid all the disposal of materials that come with restaurants and to-go food (and you know what's in the food). Glass jars/tupperware are reusable as long as they last, and don't leach chemicals into the contents. Even though you pay more initially, they save you money over time!

Eco-Friendly options

If it is necessary for your business to use to-go materials, then at least go for items that have a better impact. To-go containers aren't usually recyclable, but they could have lower embodied energy, health, and litter impacts. Only certain types of containers are compostable, but they usually end up in the car or at home anyways. It's hard to say which types of products have lower environmental impacts, but regarding the customer's health, paper-based packaging is almost certainly better.

Enjoyed this article? Share it on Facebook! Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter for more information on materials like this. Email carld@rcswd.com with any ideas for spotlights on certain materials.

Make your Tax Return Green

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Happy New Year! If you’ve already done your taxes, then good for you. That’s impressive. If not, then consider donating some of your tax refund to Green Up Vermont! Line 29 of your Vermont State tax return has space for you to write a donation amount of your choice. Anything helps!

Every year, the first Saturday in May, Vermonters in nearly every town will meet up to collect litter that is exposed after the snow melts. Plastic trash gets into our water, food (other animals eat the bits on accident), and scenery, reducing our quality of life in the Green Mountain State and Blue Planet.

You can help prevent this by facilitating a group to collect litter on Green Up Day, and/or by donating to Green Up Vermont! Your donation can help cover the expense of purchasing and shipping the green bags that we collect litter in, or the coordination of all the groups and towns that take on the challenge to make our roadways and riversides spotless.

Permit Renewal Time!

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Permit Renewal Time!

Residents, haulers, and businesses that use the Rutland Regional Transfer Station at 14 Gleason Road should purchase or renew permits for 2019 to save money on disposal costs, and to access additional services. For a current price list comparing rates with and without permits, visit the Gleason Road Transfer Station page.

Permit prices are annual as follows-

Residents (In-district): $10; (out-of-district): $40

Businesses (In-district): $20; (out-of-district): $60

You could save up to $35 per ton of trash and construction/demolition debris! That means the permit could pay for itself in one load.

How do I purchase/renew a 2019 permit?

There are three ways (cash or check only):

  1. Visit our office- 1 Smith Rd, Rutland, VT 05701; Mon - Fri: 7 AM - 4:30 PM
  2. During your week-day trip to the transfer station; at the Recycling Center, Scalehouse or Hazardous Waste Depot- 14 Gleason Road, Rutland, VT 05701; Mon - Fri: 7 AM - 3 PM
  3. By mail- Fill out the proper form- In-district; Out-of-district; mail it with a check to:

Rutland County Solid Waste District
2 Greens Hill Lane
Rutland, VT 05701

*Business checks can only be used to purchase business permits. Otherwise, personal checks should be used.*

Compost workshops & Bears (Oh my!)

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We had a blast at the Killington Farmers Market and Killington Compost Workshop a week ago! Twelve people attended the workshop, and half of them hadn’t tried composting in their backyard before. “Compost” Carl went over the basics of composting: why it’s important, and how it’s done; he also talked specifically about bear and animal issues with composting. There was a lot of question and answer discussion after the main points were made.

For more information and to set up a compost workshop in your town, contact Carl Diethelm- carld@rcswd.com

Practice Bear Aware Composting

If you live in rural Vermont (and some urban areas) you have probably taken down bird feeders from April to November to avoid it being knocked down by hungry bears. While bird feeders can be attractive, there are ways to compost food scraps without bringing in extra bears to your backyard. Figure out which method works best for you at different times of the year:

  1. Backyard compost pile- make sure to add 3 times as many browns (leaves, wood shavings, brown paper) as greens (food scraps) and always cover exposed greens with a few inches of brown material. Keep all contents in a sturdy container that has plenty of air holes, and turn frequently (at least weekly) to aerate the pile. There are some bear-resistant bins available, and many people have used the Green Cone Digester (subsidized to $120 by RCSWD) swithout bother from bears or other critters. The last tip is to keep the moisture level consistent around 50-60%– a squeeze test should produce some moisture, but no dripping.
  2. Bring food scraps to drop off location– all transfer stations accept food scraps for drop off, which are then composted or anaerobically digested. All you need is a bucket or bag to hold the food scraps, and you can avoid the hassle of doing it yourself! Put scraps in the fridge or freezer to keep smells down until your next disposal.
  3. Compost in your kitchen!– Worm composting can be done odorlessly and with cleanliness under a sink or in a closet. The worms and microbes eat food scraps quick enough that mold and odor are not produced. It can require some reading and practice to get the process down, so here are some further resources to check out:
    1. Worm composting overview by Elaine Nordmeyer, UVM Master Composter
    2. Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhoff

Help prove our county is the best!

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CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT: BATTERY COLLECTION CHALLENGE

6 September 2018

Who:

Rutland County Solid Waste District announces their participation in the inaugural Vermont Battery Collection Challenge. The challenge seeks to rally Vermont residents to properly recycle their batteries, thus diverting them from landfills, lowering the risk for potential safety incidents and reducing local waste collection costs.

What:

The residents served by Rutland County Solid Waste District will compete against other solid waste districts and alliances to see which recycles the most batteries (by volume) per capita through December 31, 2018. The winning regional solid waste district or alliance will be announced January 2019 and will receive a trophy prize.

Why:

In 2017, the leading solid waste district in Vermont collected slightly over 3 ounces or four AA batteries per person – certainly we can beat that! Rutland County Solid Waste District has accepted the challenge and we NEED your help to win! Please join us by recycling ALL your household batteries through the end of the year at any of the drop-off facilities below or your towns rural collection day– bragging rights are on the line!

When:

The Battery Collection Challenge will run through December 31, 2018.

Where: Visit www.call2recycle.org/locator to find the closest drop-off location

Rutland Transfer Station
14 Gleason Rd, Rutland, VT 05701
(802) 770-1333
Mon – Sa: 7 AM – 3 PM

Rite Aid – Rutland
7 West St, Rutland, VT 05701

Interstate All Battery Center
71 River St, Rutland, VT 05701

Fastenal
134 Park St Ste 5, Rutland, VT 05701

This contest is run in collaboration with Call2Recycle, Inc. and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. For further information:

Please visit call2recycle.org/vermont or www.rcswd.com/hhw
Call (802) 775-7209 during business hours with any questions

Save money by recycling right

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Are you certain that you recycle right? Disposing of resources in the best manner can require a little time to know how to do it right. Even so, it’s as easy as a call to the Solid Waste District, and can save you and your town money! Call (802) 775-7209 with any disposal questions.

Adhering to the following guides will prevent your transfer stations and towns from experiencing additional costs through rejected loads and/or regulatory fines.

  1. The first guide is on what is/isn’t accepted in mixed recycling regardless of the hauler that picks up the load. Putting the wrong materials in the dumpster/compactor can cause recycling costs to be higher, and can harm the workers that sort these items. Casella Recycling operates the recycling facility in Rutland, and shares the most up to date information with us.
  2. The Waste Not Guide details what is banned from the landfill in Vermont, and alternative options for disposal of these items. The Dept. of Environmental Conservation does check transfer stations randomly to ensure that these items are disposed of properly.

Recycling

Your source for proper disposal

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How’s your compost pile going? Is there a spot for community composting you’ve been thinking about? The Rutland County Solid Waste District is seeking people and organizations that want to host a compost workshop in your town. Please email carld@rcswd.com, or call (802) 775-7209 with suggestions on where to host a workshop.

Hazardous Waste Collection events are ending soon! Make sure to check your FPF calendar for the next HHW collection at your transfer station. Also view the full schedule at www.rcswd.com/hhw.

The Gleason Road Transfer Station in Rutland is available for use by anyone. A permit is required for hazardous waste (except paint), and will result in cheaper disposal prices for most materials. Permits are half-price, and last the rest of 2018!

Visit our website or call us with any questions about proper disposal! (802) 775-7209; www.rcswd.com

July Updates

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Thanks to Art for keeping our recycling center running smoothly!

Kitchen trash bags (less than 30 lbs) are now $1 cheaper to dispose of at the Gleason Road Transfer Station (click link for full price list). 

 

Barry’s tomatoes are coming in! Stop by the Hazardous Waste Depot to drop off your batteries, bulbs, paint, aerosol cans, automobile fluids, and chemicals.
Additionally, our rural collection vehicle may visit your town only once more this year. Check our schedule to find out when that is.

 

Want a compost workshop to happen in your town? Email carld@rcswd.com with suggestions of where and when it could be held!

Summertime at RCSWD

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Welcome Summer!

We are busy as ever at the transfer station! FYI, our permit prices are cut in half starting July 1st, and they last until December 31, 2018. The Gleason Road Transfer station is closed on July 4th in observance of the holiday. We hope you have a happy and safe celebration!

Meanwhile, spent fireworks can go in the trash (after they have cooled down…), but unused, and dud fireworks must be dropped off at our Household Hazardous waste depot or at a town collection event!

 

Event Disposal Support

We can help make your event a low-impact event! You can save money on the disposal of materials, and show your attendees that you care. Call (802) 775-7209 to ask about your upcoming event, or email carld@rcswd.com.

Oh and one more thing…
WATERMELON RIND PICKLES anyone?

Yes, they may sound strange,but I have actually tried them myself! We all know there will be lots of leftover rinds, but if you can’t pickle them, then try to compost them at least.
Here’s a recipe!

John is glad we have food scrap collection now and uses it frequently!

Art and Joe staying busy at the recycling center, as usual!

Barry and Dominic keeping it safe at Hazardous waste.

Job Opportunities

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ADDISON COUNTY SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT DISTRICT

Transfer Station Operator II

Full-Time Position

Transfer Station Operator wanted for immediate hire. Work as part of a team at the District Transfer Station and HazWaste Center in Middlebury, VT. This position will spend time between handling household hazardous waste and small business (CEG) hazardous waste and working in the Transfer Station yard. Qualified applicants will have to meet all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Requirements, possess a clean driving record, and obtain a CDL endorsement prior to employment. Also, ability to:  lift 50 lbs; be medically cleared and fit-tested for respirator use; operate heavy equipment (backhoe, wheel loader, forklift), and drive a box truck and tractor-trailers (in yard only). Must be a reliable team player, able to communicate effectively and cordially with co-workers, customers and the general public. A high school diploma or equivalent, as well as reading skills (ability to read chemical labels), communication skills, math aptitude, and familiarity with computers are required. Work an avg. 38-hr work week:  Mon–Fri, 6:45 am – 3:15 pm and Sat, 7:45 am – 1:15 pm. (Sun. and one weekday off, with occasional overtime.)

We offer a competitive wage, along with a superior benefit package, including: paid leave; health, vision, life, disability and dental insurance; retirement savings plan; uniforms, training and safety equipment.

Call (802) 388-2333 for a job description and application, download it from www.AddisonCountyRecycles.org, or stop by the office at 1223 Rt. 7 South, in Middlebury. Open until filled. To apply: Mail or drop off application to: ACSWMD, Attn: District Manager, 1223 Route 7 South, Middlebury, VT  05753, or email to teri@acswmd.org.

EOE/VPE/ADA

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