Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Chittenden Solid Waste District seeks voter approval for funding for 2nd recycling facility

A photo of a warehouse with piles of cardboard recycling.
John Dillon
Vermont Public File
The Chittenden County Solid Waste District is asking voters to approve a $22 million request in order to build a second recyclables sorting facility.

Voters in the state’s most populous county will decide in November whether to put up the money to help build a second recycling facility.

The Chittenden Solid Waste District is seeking voter support to borrow $22 million to build an updated and more automated sorting center in Williston. CSWD will pay back the loan over 25 years.

CSWD sorts recyclables collected from curbside blue bins. The current facility has not been updated since it was built in 1993, after the board of commissioners at CSWD passed an ordinance mandating recycling for residences and businesses in the county.

In 2012 the Legislature also passed Act 148, which requires recyclables and compost stay out of the state’s landfill.

The original facility was designed to process up to 25,000 tons of material annually. Currently, it receives 45,000 to 48,000 tons annually, according to Jennifer Holliday, director of public policy and communications at CSWD.

"So, we're way over the capacity of the facility, with no room to grow,” she said.

According to Holliday, the current facility is also dimly lit, crowded, and primarily relies on hand-sorting.

"It’s clear that this facility needs to be replaced, that technology is better today than in 1993, that the…workers deserve a better place to work,” she said.

If approved, Holliday said the new facility will be more spacious and brightly lit, but the major upgrade will be the addition of optical sorters, a type of new technology that can sort materials more efficiently. With this installation, the employees will mainly be responsible for “quality control,” to ensure the optical sorters are working correctly. This will significantly decrease the labor needed and decrease the number of times that containers need to be processed.

The new facility is expected to cost around $26 million. CSWD plans to use $3.5 million of its reserves, tap into grants, low-interest loans, and borrow $16 million from a bond bank for 25 years. CSWD will use revenue collected from fees and the sale of recyclables to pay back the loans in the future.

Due to changes in voting processes this year, voters will not see the bond for the facility on their mail-in ballot. The initiative is included on ballots that can be requested through their town clerk, through their My Voter page, or by voting in person at any Chittenden County polling place.

This story is a collaboration between Vermont Public and the Community News Service. The Community News Service is a student-powered partnership between the University of Vermont’s Reporting & Documentary Storytelling program and community newspapers across Vermont.

Nora Thomas is a sophomore at the University of Vermont. She is from Northern Virginia and is majoring in environmental studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Latest Stories