I applaud Secretary Markowitz and the Agency of Natural Resources for their decision to deny recertification of the Moretown Landfill. This decision is a necessary step toward sustainable materials management and says that there are consequences for polluters breaking the law.
At Toxics Action Center we believe that everyone has the right to breathe clean air, drink clean water and live in sustainable communities. Through its noxious odors and groundwater contamination, the Moretown Landfill stands directly in the way of these rights. Halting this polluting operation was the right decision for the health of the community and the future of Vermont.
Yet, this doesn’t solve the root of our waste problem — we need to commit to reduce, reuse and recycle in order to move toward zero waste.
Landfills are only a Band-Aid solution to a long-standing waste problem. It’s time we reform our waste system to reclaim these valuable materials and create up to 10 times the jobs through recycling and reuse.
Currently in Vermont, we produce over 600,000 tons of waste each year and send about 65 percent of this material to landfills or incinerators. The ANR has set a commendable goal to increase the diversion rate in the next five years, sending only 25 percent of our waste to landfills.
Rather than create new space to bury trash, I suggest reconstruction of the Moretown Landfill site for sustainable infrastructure such as a resource recovery park. I encourage the ANR to seize this opportunity to move the state forward in minimizing our waste stream.
The writer is a community organizer with Toxics Action Center.
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