Bennington County Solid Waste Alliance – A Year In Review (2016)

Bennington County Solid Waste Alliance
Year in Review (2016)

Universal Recycling Law:  In December of 2015, the Bennington County Solid Waste Alliance adopted a solid waste implementation plan or “SWIP” to comply with Act 148, now known as the Universal Recycling Law. The SWIP describes how the member towns will increase recycling and reduce the types and amounts of materials being sent to landfills. The Alliance members include Arlington, Bennington, Dorset, Glastenbury, Manchester, Pownal, Rupert, Sandgate, Searsburg, Shaftsbury, Stamford, Sunderland, and Woodford.

Solid Waste Implementation Plan:  The SWIP outlines an extensive outreach program for residents, schools, businesses and institutions to assist them in recycling. This includes information on the Alliance website (www.bcswavt.org) and Facebook page as well as materials in local newspapers. Since January of 2016, the Alliance contacted all 25 schools as well as 300 businesses within the area and completed on-site outreach to three schools and 80 businesses to provide information on ways to increase recycling, manage food scraps, and properly dispose of hazardous materials.

Funding and Grants:  The member towns provide most of the funding for programs. This year the Alliance applied for and received over $28,000 in grants from the Agency of Natural Resources for business outreach and for household hazardous waste events. The Agency of Agriculture and Markets provided an additional $4,400.00 for pesticide collection at HHW events. We also teamed up with the Windham County Solid Waste Management District and the Londonderry Group to share an Eco AmeriCorps member to help with outreach.

Programs and Events:  The Alliance sponsors and supports many programs to assist residents, businesses, schools and institutions to properly dispose of materials. The following are some of our major programs. You can find out more by visiting the Alliance website at www.bcswavt.org and searching under Programs and Projects.

  • Household Hazardous Waste Events: The Alliance held two household hazardous waste (HHW) events in the spring and fall of 2016. The spring event was sponsored by the Town of Bennington and held at the Bennington Transfer Station. The fall event was managed by the Bennington County Regional Commission and held at the Dorset School. In 2017, the Alliance will again hold two everts for the 13 Alliance towns. One will be held in Bennington and a second, in the northern part of the county. Dates will be posted well in advance at bcswavt.org and in local newspapers and media.
  • Electronics Collections: The Vermont E-Cycles program provides for free disposal of electronic devices including computers, monitors, printers, computer peripherals, and televisions, regardless of brand, age, or condition, for consumers, charities, school districts, and small businesses. Free collection locations in Bennington County include the Bennington, Northshire (Dorset), Pownal, and Sunderland Transfer Stations and other sites listed at http://dec.vermont.gov/waste-management/solid/product-stewardship/electronics.
  • Fluorescent Bulbs: Vermont ANR has also implemented a plan to accept used fluorescent bulbs and compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL’s) at various retail. These bulbs contain mercury, which is a hazardous substance. Residents can dispose of bulbs at several hardware stores and other retail establishments and at several of the transfer stations. Information on this program is available at http://www.bcswavt.org/programs-and-projects/fluorescent-bulbs/.
  • Paint Collections: PaintCare Inc. is a non-profit organization established to assist paint manufacturers to plan and operate paint stewardship programs in the United States, including Vermont.  Both latex and oil-based paint have been collected at HHW events and at special PaintCare events, and several local hardware stores accept paint. To find a location, residents may visit http://www.paintcare.org/drop-off-locations/.
  • Battery Recycling: Primary (alkaline) batteries and rechargeable batteries are now accepted at many retailers and at the Bennington, Northshire, Sunderland and Pownal Transfer Stations. These can be recycled rather than disposed in the trash. For more information, visit Call2Recycle at http://www.call2recycle.org/what-can-i-recycle/.
  • Textiles: The Bennington, Northshire, Sunderland, Shaftsbury and Pownal transfer stations have textile boxes where residents can donate clothing and shoes. Boxes are also located throughout the Alliance area. Visit bcswavt.org for locations. Goodwill in Bennington also accepts clothing donations as well as other household items, books and used electronic devices. Visit them at http://www.goodwill-berkshires.com/.
  • Construction and Demolition Debris: All transfer stations accept construction and demolition debris from builders and do-it-yourself homeowners. The TAM Pownal facility also accepts construction and demolition debris from residents and businesses.
  • Prescription Drugs: Prescription drugs should be properly disposed when they are no longer needed as they can make their way into water sources and can pose a hazard in the home. The Bennington Police Department, the Manchester Police Department and the Bennington County Sheriff accept prescription drugs. Go to http://www.bcswavt.org/programs-and-projects/disposing-of-prescription-drug/ for more information.