New Pilot Program for VT Farmers to Recycle

By Christine Souders |

Published 03/30 2014 05:14PM

Updated 03/30 2014 07:13PM

VERMONT- Vermont dairy farms use 500 tons of plastic on average each year, and much of it ends up in a landfill

But a new pilot program in Vermont is providing local farmers with a new option, a way to recycle it.

Farmer Howard VanderWey not only pays for the plastic he uses to wrap hay bales and cover feed bunks on the farm, but he also pays to throw it away.

"Lately we've been putting it in the trash, which is going to the landfill. We heard of this program coming up, and said wow this is a good idea," said Howard VanderWey.

He's talking about a new pilot program in Vermont.

Farmers who participate can drop off plastic that is clean and dry through april in 5 locations across the state.

"Whether it be fabric for cars, so your upholstery, different things like that. They can take that product and engineer lumbers for your decking products and different things like that. They can take that plastic and turn it into that type of product," said Michael Casella, Casella Resource Solutions who is teaming up with Vermont Agency of Agriculture/Cabot Creamery Cooperative.                                                                                                                                

It's still a work in progress, but the minds behind this said hopefully more manufacturers will catch on.

"Currently, we're testing it to see what's the viable, where can we send the material, how far away are those outlets," said Farmer VanderWey.

And he'd like to see this become a permanent solution to prevent reuseable products becoming waste.

"Hopefully this will continue through, and help reduce our end use costs, disposal costs," Farmer VanderWey added.

"Anytime from Casella's perspective you can pull a valuable resource out of the waste stream and find an outlet, where it can be processed and recycled into new goods, it's a win for the farmers, it's a win for us," said Casella.

We're told this program could expand to greenhouses, to recycle nursery pots and trays, and tubing used by maple syrup producers

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