Response: Recycling is NOT delusional

To the Editor: 
We couldn’t agree more with Frank Mazur’s opening statements in his 8/14/21 letter Opinion: Recycling Delusional? But we disagree with the comparison to Florida, or to any other state. Vermont has a very different reality, and in many ways our Vermont story is unique.  

At the Chittenden Solid Waste District, we are constantly evaluating what we can cost-effectively accept for recycling at our Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Williston, which sorts and markets most of the “blue-bin” recyclables from the northern half of Vermont. We are happy to report that contrary to the dire reports from other parts of the country, legitimate, cost-effective marketing of mandatory recyclables has continued unabated in Vermont despite  labor shortages, astronomical increases in freight costs and China’s policy change. In part, this is because none of our recyclables are being marketed overseas.  

Another important factor is that our community is among the best in the nation at recycling right. Vermonters take pride in knowing how and what to recycle, for example knowing that containers should be empty and clean before being recycled. Our residents and businesses should be proud that even with outdated technology and double the throughput the 30-year-old facility was designed for, the CSWD MRF sorted, processed, and marketed 45,763 tons of blue-bin recyclables—a whopping 93% of incoming material—to be made into new products in fiscal year 2021.  

Managing and processing recyclables comes with a price tag but the cost is less than landfilling those materials both from an economic and environmental standpoint. Vermonters’ investment in recycling preserves non-renewable resources, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, provides jobs, and preserves landfill capacity.  

Simply stated, Vermont isn’t Florida. Recycling is both global AND hyper-local. Be sure to check the local, on-the-ground facts before making any assumptions based on media from other parts of the country by contacting us! 

We invite anyone who wants to know the real story of how recycling happens in Vermont to view our MRF video or watch one of the fun and informative webinars we produced in place of our amazing MRF tours during the pandemic. Find out more at cswd.net/learn.   

 Find out more about what is recyclable—and what isn’t—at www.cswd.net/recycling    

Michele Morris, Communications Director, Chittenden Solid Waste District

Categories: Opinion

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