Nearly 30 years ago, the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) built Vermont’s first recycling sorting facility, known as a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), where “blue-bin” recyclables are sorted. In this same year, 1993, Jurassic Park was the big movie hit, a gallon of gas cost $1.68 and Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey dominated the music charts. In other words, it was a long time ago. And just like people’s taste in music has changed, people’s recycling needs have evolved. The current MRF can no longer keep up with modern packaging and the recycling needs of Vermonters today. The facility is inefficient and outdated and at capacity and employees are still hand-sorting some materials.
To address these challenges, CSWD is proposing to build a new MRF that will be more efficient and effective, providing affordable, in-state processing for Vermonters’ recycling for years to come. It will be built with enough capacity and flexibility to adapt to changes in volume and types of recyclables over the next 30 years.
CSWD functions much like a school or water district, only we manage solid waste. As a municipally owned District, we serve the public without profit as a driver. Because we’re a municipality, we need voter approval for long-term borrowing to finance the new MRF project. CSWD will be seeking voter approval in this year’s General Election to borrow no more than $22 million to build the new MRF.
The new MRF will allow us to grow for the next 30 years, with 40% more capacity. It will be able to process up to 70,000 tons (140 million pounds) of recyclables every year. Besides keeping them in circulation and out of Vermont’s only landfill, recycling these materials has significant greenhouse gas reduction benefits, the equivalent of removing 52,500 passenger vehicles from the road and conserving nearly 28 million gallons of gas annually.
The benefits of a new MRF go beyond protecting the environment. No jobs will be lost, and it will provide a cleaner, better ventilated, more spacious modern facility and more varied jobs for Vermont workers.
While the new MRF is an exciting prospect, what is perhaps even more appealing is the fact that this new, high-tech facility will not increase your taxes. CSWD will pay back the loan over 25 years through the sale of recyclables and the user fee charged at the MRF. This is how we cover capital and operating costs now.
The benefits of a new MRF are clear. It is a win for Vermonters, our environment, and our economy.
Visit www.cswd.net/mrf-bond for more information. The CSWD ballot is not eligible to be included on the General Election ballot, but it is available at your Town Clerk’s office or by request via http://mvp.vermont.gov (Vermont's My Voter Page). This ballot will also be available on November 8 at all Chittenden County polling places.