|In December 2005, the Governor's Commission on Climate Change (GCCC) was established by an Executive Order to develop an accurate picture of Vermont's past, present, and future GHG emissions and a comprehensive set of policy recommendations for reducing Vermont's GHG emissions from all sectors, consistent with the state's need for continued economic growth and energy security. The Governor's Commission on Climate Change Report identified 38 areas for action intended to advance the state toward the goals of reducing Vermont's GHG emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2012; 50 percent by 2028; and, if practical, 75 percent by 2050. The report identified 260 action steps to be taken under the 38 categories, and one of these categories focuses on waste diversion and another on waste prevention. To view the Report, visit www.anr.state.vt.us/air/Planning/docs/GCCC%20Final%20Report_pages%201-10.pdf [PDF].
The Commission identified six strategies to increase waste diversion statewide and six to prevent waste generation, including the following:
Waste Diversion Strategies:
-Develop advanced recycling infrastructure so that the entire state is able to participate in single stream recycling
-Develop an incentive/rewards-based recycling infrastructure, coupled with single-stream hardware infrastructure (including material recovery centers)
-Develop additional processing capacity across the state for organic wastes (e.g., composting facilities) and expand the collection of commercially-generated organic waste
-Develop a used clothing recycling program (curb-side and rural drop off model)
-Develop an incentive/rewards-based recycling infrastructure specifically for construction and demolition (C & D) material
-Where the incentive-based methods mentioned above do not achieve progress toward the 2012 and 2028 goals, develop and implement appropriate mandates to achieve the goals
Waste Prevention Strategies:
-Develop prototype residential and commercial waste prevention programs that will validate costs savings
-Develop a communication portal that will keep all constituents apprised of waste reduction/minimization initiatives and actively promote waste minimization efforts, including the results of prototype programs and specific case studies
-Develop sector-specific waste minimization strategies (i.e, schools, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, retail, and banks) in collaboration with other organizations and local communities
-Develop an assistance program to provide engineering support to businesses to: reduce product packaging and shipping materials; and select product packaging and shipping materials that are highly recyclable
-Encourage manufacturers to provide end-of-life management solutions that reduce the environmental impact of waste (e.g., "cradle-to-cradle" responsibility for waste)
-Develop and implement a green purchasing program for all state operations, and use that program as a model and encourage its adoption by all municipalities and businesses
A key to implementation of these recommendations is development of comprehensive and convenient systems for reducing priority waste streams in Vermont (including traditional recyclables, C&D waste, and organics). The Agency tracks diversion data to determine how it is meeting its diversion goal and uses the Northeast Recycling Council's (NERC) Environmental Benefits Calculator to measure GHG reductions. For more information, visit: www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/wastediv/R3/DECwpPLAN.htm and www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/wastediv/solid/SW_Work_Group.htm.
The Agency of Natural Resources has convened three planning efforts to support the waste program strategies: Waste Prevention Planning, the Sustainable Materials Vision, and the Solid Waste Working Groups. The Agency is offering climate change grants of up to $12,000 to non-profits and communities for projects to reduce GHGs. Waste prevention and reduction projects are eligible.
Finally, if the 2012 (35 percent diversion) and 2028 (50 percent diversion) waste diversion goals are not met, the strategies call for appropriate mandates. Implementing such approaches would be complemented by the State's solid waste management plan, which includes a 50 percent diversion goal by 2011.