It’s easy to feel like there isn’t a lot to celebrate these days, so we’re always on hunt for small victories – bonus points if those small wins have the potential for significant positive change.
This month in Vermont, we’re celebrating two such small wins that signify big progress for our state and illustrate our ongoing commitment to environmental protection. Effective July 1, our mighty little state passed two separate pieces of legislation, one banning single use plastic bags from retail stores, and the other requiring composting of food scraps.
Both laws are actionable follow ups from a 2012 Universal Recycling Law that called for a fifty percent reduction in landfill-bound waste statewide.
Since roughly twenty percent of our landfill contents consist of food waste, composting was a whale worth chasing in Vermont, and single-use plastic bag ban? Yep, that too.
Food scraps are responsible for the release of methane gas into our precious atmosphere. It turns out, when food is composted instead of dumped in a landfill, it doesn’t create and emit methane gas, instead, it decomposes into viable, nutrient rich soil capable of fertilizing and sustaining a new round of crops.
Ahh, the circle of life, isn’t science fun? We think so.
The banning of food scraps in trash cans and the recent eradication of plastic shopping bags is truly something worth celebrating, because it moves us forward in our understanding and acceptance of our impact on our finite resources. Importantly, it requires that Vermonters buy in to do the right thing.
Thankfully, Vermonters aren’t known for their lack of buy-in. One thing we love about this little state is that we like to think we try to do the right thing without having to be asked – with our community’s best interest at heart. As odd as it may sound, even prior to the plastic bag ban, carrying a plastic grocery bag was already borderline taboo in our small state – believe it.
Yet when COVID-19 reached the Green Mountains and early advice pointed to the potential risk for grocery store workers who handled folks’ reusable bags, Vermonters just did it, largely without complaint. Soon thereafter, reusable bags were permitted again, and very few shook their heads with annoyance that rule rules were changing with the speed of information.
At heart, Vermonters are both ruggedly individualistic and deeply communal, collaborative people. We mind our own business while keeping our neighbors’ best interests at heart; we stay in our lanes, together. Together, we respect the working landscape in which we live through thoughtful preservation, and trust our neighbors and communities at large to do the right thing.
It presents a unique dynamic tension, but arguably, it works for Vermont.
Through this recent legislation, Vermonters are meeting a problem with action and common sense, and that's a big win in our book. Here at Vermont Creamery, we applaud this collective action our state is taking. We were composting our trash before it was law, because, well – pigs are hungry, and somebody’s old cheese is another swine’s fine dining. And now we’re thrilled to be joined by many other Vermonters in the cause.
To learn more about composting in Vermont, click here.