Chittenden County households and businesses kept an estimated 57% (by weight) of all their commonly generated “stuff,” including construction and demolition (C&D) waste, out of the landfill in 2020. That’s according to CSWD’s 2020 Diversion & Disposal Report, which draws on multiple data points to estimate how much solid “waste” is generated within Chittenden County each year, and where it all ends up.
CSWD estimates that by keeping resources out of the landfill-bound trash and diverting them instead to be reused, recycled, or composted, District members prevented nearly 5,000 tractor trailers from needing to make the 142-mile round-trip journey from Chittenden County to the landfill in Coventry during 2020.
In addition to the avoided noise, traffic, and wear and tear on roads through our communities, that represents more than:
125,000 gallons of diesel fuel not used by those tractor-trailers
164,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided through diversion (the equivalent of taking 35,000 cars off the road, or conserving 18 million gallons of gasoline)
“Everyone who lives, works, and plays in Chittenden County should be proud of their efforts at preventing and reducing the tons of ‘waste’ we send to the landfill each year,” said CSWD Executive Director Sarah Reeves.
Even when heavy construction waste is removed from the equation, households and businesses still reached 50.4% diverted from the landfill for the first time since 1993, when CSWD started tracking this data. To put this in perspective, here is how CSWD’s Diversion Rate compares with those reported by other US communities recognized for high-performing waste reduction and diversion programs:
Seattle (2019): 54%
San Francisco (FY21): 51%
Portland, OR, Metro (2019): 46%
Another remarkable achievement noted in CSWD’s 2020 Diversion & Disposal Report is that the county-wide recovery rate just for “blue-bin” recyclables climbed to a remarkable 81.5% in 2020, up from an already high 78.7% in 2019. Most communities do not invest in the studies needed to estimate this rate, so it is difficult to make comparisons. However, in their 2020 State of Curbside Recycling Report, The Recycling Partnership estimates that communities with curbside recycling programs average a 61.5% rate of recovery for “blue-bin” recyclables.
“We’re energized by the opportunities to build on such a solid foundation,” said CSWD Executive Director Sarah Reeves. “It will be exciting to see how much more of the remaining 50,000 tons of landfill-bound resources we can capture with CSWD’s commitment to continued education and our anticipated investments in future programs and 21st-century facilities.”
Contact Alise Certa for interviews regarding this report or for summary slides presented at the October 27, 2021, CSWD Board of Commissioners meeting.