As of last week, only three towns in Vermont had yet to sign the new solid waste ordinance resulting from the passage of Act 148, or the Universal Recycling Law, and two of them are located in The Valley.

At the Moretown Select Board meeting on Monday, October 4, the town moved to sign the ordinance. Mad River Resource Management Alliance director John Malter explained that Duxbury—the last town in The Valley and the second to last in the state to sign the ordinance—has had some turnover in its select board that has so far prevented it from doing the same.

If a town within the alliance does not sign the ordinance, Malter explained last Monday, the state will not pass its solid waste implementation plan and the town will not be able to do business with haulers.

The new solid waste ordinance imposes a pay-as-you-throw model, in which consumers are charged for the volume of trash they produce. This is different from pre-existing ordinances in some towns under which trash is included on residents’ tax bills, Malter explained. “For those towns, this is a wake-up call,” he said.

By charging by volume, the new ordinance creates an incentive for residents to reduce their waste, and for those who live in The Valley, that part won’t change.

“Part of what makes me a little bit crazy is these are common sense things that we’ve already been doing,” Malter said of the new ordinance and other changes imposed by Act 148, which seeks to divert all organic material from the landfills in Vermont by 2020.

Much of the implementation of the Universal Recycling Law, Malter said, is the responsibility of the Mad River Resource Management Alliance and “enforcement is hopefully going to be education,” he said. “I just want this to work out for the benefit of our communities.”