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Vermont Garden Journal: The Universal Recycling And Composting Law

Clemson Extension Service
Vermont's Act 148 requires homeowners and businesses to compost all organic materials.

Vermont's Act 148, the Universal Recycling & Composting Law, is having a big impact on how Vermonters deal with their waste. This law has been phasing in mandatory recycling and composting for businesses and residences since 2014. By 2020, food scraps and organic waste will be banned from the landfill.

This law has brought about a lot of discussion in the gardening world. Many folks, such as my wife Wendy and I, have beencomposting in bins and piles for years. There won't be any adjustment for us. But gardeners and residents, especially in towns and cities, are facing a bigger challenge. Obviously, the perfect solution would be everyone composting at home. But some residents may be looking for other solutions for their kitchen scraps, garden and landscape waste.

One innovative option being discussed is community composting. Community composting is composting on a larger scale than you would in your own yard, but not as large as a commercial composting operation. We already are composting in a larger scale in many schools and some small businesses around the state. 

Communities set up community composting operations where residents can drop off their food and garden waste at a site or even have curb-side pick-up. Non-profit groups such as the Vermont Community Garden Networkhave set up up forums this fall to talk about this issue.

And now for this week's tip: It is composting time and this time of year there is lots of organic matter to use. In bins, barrels or contained piles, alternate layers of brown or carbon rich materials with green or nitrogen rich materials, watering each layer until you make a four-to-five-foot tall and wide pile. Cover it from rain, turn it after it heats up and by next year you should have some nice compost.

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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