“First in the nation” household waste bill goes to House floor today

By Guy Page

A bill to save landfills $1.6 million in hazardous waste disposal costs by passing the cost along to manufacturers will go to the House floor today.

Supporters like Rep. Kari Dolan (D-Waitsfield) say H115 aims at safe, cost-effective management of hazardous waste such as near-empty cans of WD-40. It will reduce consumer costs, reduce trash haulers’ exposure to toxic chemicals thrown in the trash, and reduce the toxic chemical burden on Vermont’s lone remaining landfill.

H115 is also another “first in the nation” foray into government regulation of private industry. Critics say it’s an expensive, time-consuming regulatory nightmare that will require yet another government registry and will likely add consumer costs and reduce availability of necessary household items.

At present, household waste is collected at local transfer stations. The costs are paid by the station operators, who in turn pass along the cost to users. H115’s solution: “the State shall implement a program to require the manufacturers of household products containing a hazardous substance to implement a stewardship organization to collect household products containing a hazardous substance free of charge to the public.”

In other words, the manufacturer must create an organization to collect and dispose of the products, on its own dime. 

As Dolan concedes, no other state is now using the manufacturer-paid stewardship organization model. A few Canadian provinces require ‘stewardship organizations.’ Collections there are way up, she said. 

The bill takes up 15 pages in today’s House Calendar. Most of the extensive verbiage describes how to set up a ‘stewardship organization’ and make it work. Some household toxics are covered – like nonrefillable propane canisters – and some are not, like batteries, pharmaceuticals, and paint. Manufacturers must create stewardship organizations that 1) list the names of all member manufacturers and 2) register with the Agency of Natural Resources. 

The stewardship organizations must implement and publicize free product collection. These collection plans must have a participation rate of five percent of each county’s population. Failure to meet that goal will require the organization to write and implement another plan. 

The bill also confers the right to sue for non-compliance. 

15 replies »

  1. Obviously hazardous materials are already an issue in regards to disposal. So let’s think ahead a little. Where/what will we do with all the lithium ion batteries that EVs will be generating in the future as they wear out ? I ask this because I admittedly know nothing about the subject. Now is the time to be thinking about a new generation of hazardous waste, not as we generate it. Is the cure worse than the disease ?

  2. Well – the top three hazardous waste “sites” on the face of the earth are Communist China, India, and Vermont —- not necessarily in that order. Vermont itself I’m pretty sure is responsible for the vast majority of pollution & climate change.

    This must be true for legislators to behave in this manner, correct?

  3. And lets talk about those lithium batteries; the cost to environment to get that material is as great; or greater than that of returning us to somewhat normal by using our own resources now…..pipeline turn it on. also i’d say that the environment is not a “USA” issue alone, its a Global issue, we along with other countries on this planet need to work together, brainstorm ways to help this living planet. to think we can make a difference without the rest of the globe taking part is ridiculous pie in the sky thinking. so without forming another gov agency there has to be a way for people to communicate with one another across the planet to find ways that work, and engage everyone, every country to participate…….

    • And or pass the cost on to the consumers. How stupid do these politicians think we are. But we are not represented in the legislature. They do what the agenda calls for. We are now living in communism.

  4. This woman who thought this up should just spend more time in the kitchen or knitting and less time dreaming up irrational ideas.

  5. Another law that they will not/cannot enforce! What a waste of legislative time and capitol!
    We need to go to an every-other year legislature so that they only have time craft essential bills for the wall.

  6. It sounds like a great idea. Unless one analyzes it for a minute or so.
    It leans toward the totalitarian idea, what many people mistakenly call “socialism”, that the government should completely control everything.

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