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Organic material (such as food scraps, leaf and brush, and other materials that used to be alive) make up an average of 28% of the residential and 18% of the industrial, commercial, and institutional waste stream in Vermont. Organics are the single largest type of material that makes up Vermont residential waste (2013 Waste Composition Study).

When organic material decomposes in landfills, it emits methane gas.  Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.  Preventing organic materials from entering the landfill not only saves limited landfill space, it also reduces the emissions of methane and enables us to utilize the nutrient value of the material. 

Learn more about:

Backyard Composting

On-Site Composting

Composting Resources

For Earth Day and every day...

complete the cycle:

return nutrients to the earth

Vermont's new solid waste law, Universal Recycling (Act 148), calls for the diversion of all food scraps, leaf and yard debris, and clean wood debris from the landfill and instead towards sustainable management strategies, notably composting. These materials must be diverted on a graduated time line based on quantity produced and type of material; these details and more are available on the Universal Recycling web page.

Considering that organics make up such a substantial portion of the waste stream and create significant environmental concerns when sent to landfills, composting is proving to be a vital strategy to address these issues. Rather than creating problems in landfills, composting converts organic materials into a valuable resource.


Want to reduce how much trash you generate and reconnect the nutrient cycle?


Composting organic material instead of bringing it to the landfill with your trash is an easy way to help the environment.

  • Composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions (some people estimate that composting a 5 gallon bucket equals 1 gallon of gasoline saved).
  • Composting reduces costs and energy associated with managing waste.
  • Compost is a better use of organic matter and nutrients than sending food scraps to the landfill.

Start composting your kitchen food scraps and yard waste
   There are many ways to compost.


Use compost instead of commercial fertilizers on your lawn and garden

  • Compost improves soil structure and moisture retention.
  • Compost reduces the need for additional fertilizers.
  • Compost reduces soil erosion and protects water quality.
  • Compost decreases soil-borne diseases and the need for pesticides.


Learn more on our Backyard Composting page.

Find many resources to help you on your composting journey on our Compost Resources page.


Learn more about On Site Composting for businesses, schools, and other institutions.

Vermont's new solid waste law, Universal Recycling (Act 148), focuses on keeping recyclables and organics out of the landfill.  Organic material includes anything that used to be living. This recent legislation focuses especially on food scraps.  Learn more about Universal Recycling.

Universal Recycling for Residents

Universal Recycling calls for all food scraps to be diverted from the landfill by July 1, 2020. This includes food scraps at the house-hold level.


Food Recovery & Waste Prevention

Universal Recycling calls for food scraps to be diverted from the landfill. Keeping food scraps out of landfills can be accomplished not only by composting them, but also by:

  • reducing the amount of food residuals produced with strategies like planned shopping lists
  • donating quality, non-perishable food to feed people, and
  • diverting lower, quality food to feed animals and for other agricultural purposes

Learn more about how you can be involved in each of these strategies on our Universal Recycling Resources page. Also read more about food & organics waste prevention.

Vermont Food Recovery Hierarchy




Last updated:
VT DEC Waste Management & Prevention Division 1 National Life Drive - Davis 1  Montpelier, VT  05620-3704  Tele: 802-828-1138  Fax: 802-828-1011

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