Survey Says: VT Litter Rates Remain High

Bottle Bills Don’t Do the Trick

The final report of the 2010 Northeast Litter Survey shows that Vermont’s litter rate is higher than either Maine or New Hampshire and that the bottle bill makes little difference in that. More comprehensive measures are necessary to reduce litter and increase recycling.

MA Letter: Bottle Bill Hurts Recylcing

This op/ed from The Salem News (MA) eloquently expresses the issues with the bottle bill.

“The bottle bill is an outdated law that costs too much and does too little. Let’s make comprehensive recycling the success it should be and support efforts to strengthen these programs.”

Read the full op/ed on The Salem News site.

Nestle Waters Execs on EPR

From’s interview with Kevin Mathews, Nestle Water’s director of health and environmental affairs for North America, and Michael Washburn, director of sustainability for North America, about the company’s recent efforts to craft water use ratio targets and develop more comprehensive water “footprinting.”

The industry pact is an interesting way to think about extended producer responsibility. Sometimes it’s called “product stewardship” or “sustainable packaging.” It’s a process in which the costs of the packaging are internalized in the product and made transparent to the consumer: you buy a pack, and see an eco-fee on your receipt. A penny a bottle, perhaps. Produce baskets. Egg cartons. It ends up being a lot of money. What government can do is regulate the use of those dollars to only be made available to enhance state recycling projects, not going into state budgets but into a trust fund managed by a non-profit.

It’s difficult to develop a recycling system that just develops PET bottles. It’s aluminum, glass, plastics — it’s holistic. We feel like it’s where the world is going. You see the beginning of it, primarily around hazardous materials — batteries, paints.

Long-term in this country, it would collect more material, it would be self-funding, and create enough material flow — revenue — to stimulate domestic investment in recycling.

Read the whole interview on

EPR could revolutionize North American green business practices

A recycling program called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) which has been popular in Europe for quite some time is starting to gain traction in the United States, and it could start a revolution in green business while diverting tons of recyclables from landfills.

The concept puts the onus of recycling costs back on the businesses who are creating the products, which in turn makes it in the company’s best interests to make the least wasteful designs and become as sustainable as possible. The most common place for EPR to be put in effect is with bottle producers (like pop bottles). So far, 10 states have enacted EPR laws that require bottle manufacturers to pay for the cost of collecting and recycling used pop bottles, in an effort to keep plastic out of landfills.

(Read the rest from

Lawmakers Hear the Facts About Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

Did you know?

  • Waste generation in Vermont is up 34% since 1987, while recycling is no where near the 50% goal set by Act 78.
  • Keeping waste out of landfills creates jobs and they pay better than redemption center jobs.
  • Bottle bills are a very expensive way to recover a relatively small amount of material.

These are just a few of the facts the Vermont House Committee on Natural Resources heard from expert testimony on Thursday, April 21.

First they saw a sample of some of the things that currently end up in VT landfills but would be recycled under H218, The Extended Producer Responsibility Act.

Hear all of Andrew MacLean’s introductory remarks here.

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Ted Siegler, of DSM Environmental Services, testified about the history of solid waste management and recycling in Vermont. His presentation also showed that the EPR system would focus on efficient recycling for more materials.

Hear all of Ted Siegler’s testimony here.

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