20 June 2012
New Bins Make Recycling Easier
With this article, Ron Miller takes on responsibility for the Sustainable Woodstock column in the Vermont Standard from Chris Bartlett, who has been writing this column for the past several years. (Thank you, Chris!) Ron, the owner of Shiretown Books, recently joined the board of Sustainable Woodstock. He invites comments as well as ideas for future columns; you can reach him by email.
Last week the Woodstock Village Board of Trustees approved and funded a Sustainable Woodstock plan to install recycling containers next to eight existing trash bins in the village center. SW’s recycling committee (the “Trash Force”) will carefully evaluate the results of this pilot program from July 1 through the end of October to determine whether these public recycling sites are effective enough to be set up permanently.
The new containers will be easy to use, because all recyclable materials—glass and plastic bottles, cans, paper, and other plastics—are collected together, without the need for presorting. Woodstock Recycling and Refuse, the local company that has a contract with the village to service trash bins, helped SW design the program and will collect the recycled materials.
The trustees welcomed this initiative. “Everybody knew it needed to happen,” explained Ana DiNatale, a summer intern with SW who presented the proposal. Only the week before, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law H. 485, which mandates “universal recycling of solid waste.” In a statement after the signing, Gov. Shumlin pointed out that “our landfills are nearing capacity” and half of the waste brought to them could be recycled instead. His administration estimates the annual value of discarded recyclables at $7.6 million. In the near future, the state will also require yard and food wastes to be composted.
Besides the immediate benefits of cost reduction and extending the life of landfills, recycling is an essential element of a truly sustainable economy. Practicing recycling makes us more aware of our consumer society’s assumptions about unlimited resources and careless disposing of wastes.
Sustainable Woodstock will continue to educate the public as well as local businesses about the benefits of recycling and the ease of separating reusable materials from trash. (One point to keep in mind, which will contribute to the success of the program, is that leftover food should not be deposited into recycling containers; all cans & bottles must be empty.)
We aim for Woodstock to be a leader in the state’s waste-reduction campaign. With no-sort collection sites in place, residents and visitors alike can help ensure that recyclables are made available for re-use rather than permanently dumped into the waste stream. When you see the new collection bins in town, please use them!
By Ron Miller