Vermont Makes it Illegal to Throw Compost in the Trash

All food scraps must now be composted in Vermont to save space in landfills and reduce methane emissions

Composting is not only popular in Vermont, it’s now the law.

As of July, it is now illegal to throw food waste/scraps in the trash.

The law is part of the state’s larger goal of cutting the amount of waste sent to the landfill in half, by banning the disposal of recyclable and compostable items.

Food waste makes up about 30% of a typical Vermont family’s waste, according to the state’s Agency of Natural Resources.

Left to rot in a landfill without oxygen, food waste is a significant source of methane gas, a greenhouse gas about 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide when it comes to warming the earth.

“If it was once part of something alive, like a plant or animal, it does not belong in the landfill,” says a press release. “Food scraps and yard debris (leaves, grass, brush clippings, etc.) will need to be managed separately from trash.”

Citizens have the option of composting food scraps in their backyards, feeding them to animals, dropping off at a composting facility or using a composting pickup service. Many of the state’s trash services already offer compost pickup.

Trash companies that service commercial or apartment buildings will now be required to offer composting services.

The state won’t be looking through citizens trash bags to make sure there aren’t any food scraps or recyclables, but with 72% of Vermont’s citizens already composting voluntarily, the vast majority are expected to cooperate.

The state offers instructions on composting and a list of dropoff and pickup services.