With Earth Day (April 22) past and Green Up Day approaching (May 4), you are encouraged to rummage through your home and look for items that might need special recycling—at no cost to you! Items like household batteries, paint, or electronics (e-waste), and more can be dropped off at certain locations for free. Anyone have an old computer hanging around?
These items cannot be recycled in our regular recycling bins and should NOT be thrown into the trash! Vermont has something called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) that covers the cost of managing these products at the end of their useful life. Please visit https://dec.vermont.gov/waste-management/solid to learn more what is included in EPR and to find out what can be recycled and where!
Any pick up of litter near your location or other problem areas (roadsides and parks, especially near rivers) is of great help. Keep Vermont beautiful by participating in Green Up Day and reducing your trash initially!
Green bags provided for this purpose can be dropped off for free on Saturday, May 4 at the Rutland Subaru dealer at 128 US-7, Rutland, VT 05701 or any transfer station. Anyone can pick up bags in front of the Rutland City Offices between 8 – 11 AM on May 4. The Rutland Regional Transfer station is at 14 Gleason Road, Rutland, VT 05701 and is open from 7 AM – 3 PM Monday through Saturday.
We’ve all heard that in order to save our planet, we have to reduce our impact on the Earth, but that’s not enough. Making a positive impact that sequesters greenhouse gases, promotes biodiversity and restores equilibrium to our ecosystems will provide sustenance and beauty for the next generations of the world’s inhabitants.
“Worms consume food and, through the system of their bodies, produce richer nutrients. You, through the system of your intelligence, can create richer nutrients too.”
–William McDonough, The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability–Designing for Abundance
Take pallets for example:
In order to reduce our impact, we prevent them from going to the landfill by grinding them up to be used in the McNeil biomass facility near Burlington to provide electricity, thus reducing the need for fossil fuels! This is a great step, but the processing and transportation of the pallets uses fossil fuels, and gasifying them in the biomass plant produces some greenhouse gases still. When the goal of a project is to reduce the impact on the environment, that doesn’t mean the impact will be eliminated!
Imagine a different path- pallets are reused/repurposed into household furniture, community compost systems, etc… They might not end up offsetting the use of fossil fuels directly, but there is less need for new furniture, and this puts another use and meaning to the life of a pallet. Then, they could be turned into fuel once the furniture is no longer needed. Meanwhile, there are friends, family, neighbors and strangers that are exposed to this radical idea of creativity with discarded resources! They can take that inspiration to benefit themselves and their communities, furthering the positive impact you’ve made.
We all need to consume items that fulfill our needs, but challenging what is wanted in excess can be liberating of your stress, wallet and our environment. Check out this flow chart of how to make the most of resources so they can benefit you, your community and the Earth. Where do you have an opportunity to intervene with wasting of resources? Credit: Post-Landfill Action Network
There is no “away.” Everything that get’s thrown away will end up influencing our air, water, land and food; it’s up to you to decide whether that’s a negative influence or a positive one (or whether to throw something away at all). Sharing ideas and questions with each other will always inspire and encourage us to try something new to make use of what we acquire.
If you’re ever in a tizzy over how to use/dispose of something, give us a call! We have experts ready to give advice on how to make the most of your stuff- (802) 775-7209.
The Environmental Assistance Office is launching three new Sustainability Cohorts in the dairy products, brewing, and specialty foods sectors. We would welcome your help in identifying and recruiting businesses for which this program would be a good fit. Ideal businesses are those that are small- or medium-sized, or that are undergoing a period of transition/expansion. Below is a brief description that you could pass on to potential businesses.
Jump-start your business’ green journey, or take it to the next level, by participating in a Sustainability Cohort. Cohorts provide in-depth technical assistance, training, good PR, and some funding assistance to a group of 5-10 businesses in the Dairy Products, Brewing, and Specialty Foods sectors who commit to specific, measurable goals in energy, water, waste, and wastewater. Over the course of a year-long tracking period, participating businesses meet regularly for workshops, information-sharing, and networking. You’ll get free on-site technical assistance on sustainability from Env. Assistance Office and energy from Efficiency Vermont as you work towards meeting your environmental improvement goals in the context of a supportive and collaborative community of peers. Workshop topics will include environmental data management and reporting, wastewater, asset management, and an energy kaizen event, and/or other topics of interest to participants.
Find out when we are coming to your transfer station and bring your batteries, bulbs, paint and more! When we drop these items off at the right place, we save money for our families and towns. Events begin as soon as April 13!
April collection schedule: April 13-Castleton (8 – 11:30 AM) and Poultney (12 – 3 PM) Transfer Stations April 20-Killington Transfer Station (8 AM – 12 PM) April 27-Brandon (8 – 11 AM) and Pittsford (12 – 3 PM) Transfer Stations
GREEN UP DAY- First Saturday in May
On Saturday, May 4, we’ll gather as a community to pick up roadside trash in Rutland County. Last year, over 22,000 volunteers collected more than 55,000 bright green bags of trash statewide. This year, we hope to have more volunteers than ever! Green Up Vermont is on the charitable section of the Vermont State income tax form IN-111 in section 6. Please consider supporting Green Up Vermont through a donation on your state tax form. Because Green Up Vermont is a non-profit organization, programs like Green Up Day are only possible with public contributions. To learn more, visit www.greenupvermont.org and contact your town coordinator.
Be sure to get in touch with the Rutland County Solid Waste District if you have any questions about proper disposal: (802) 775-7209; www.rcswd.com.
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!
-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!
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 email@example.com with any ideas for spotlights on certain materials.
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.
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.
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- firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
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.
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.
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:
Rutland County Solid Waste Districtannounces 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.
The residents served byRutland County Solid Waste Districtwill 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.
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 thedrop-off facilities below or your towns rural collection day– bragging rights are on the line!
The Battery Collection Challenge will run through December 31, 2018.