HomePaired Trash & Recycling Bins

Paired Trash & Recycling Bins

A trash and recycling station sit on the Jericho Green.

As of July 1, 2016, anyone in Chittenden County providing trash containers for public use must also provide an equal number of recycling bins. This includes containers provided on property or in buildings for use by customers, members, clients, patients, visitors and other members of the general public. Restrooms are exempt.

These trash and recycling bins must also meet specific color and labeling requirements.

Color & Labeling Requirements

Evidence from around the world points to three key practices to capture the most recyclables with the least contamination:

  • Make it convenient
  • Make it obvious
  • Make it easy to do the right thing

CSWD has adopted bin pairing, color and labeling requirements in our Solid Waste Management Ordinance to help make sure recycling opportunities are convenient, accessible, and easy to identify everywhere in Chittenden County. These requirements take effect July 1, 2016, and apply anywhere trash containers are provided for public use. (Restrooms are exempt.)

The following infographic shows what every business, institution and public event must do to comply with the law.

Can’t afford to purchase new recycling bins that meet these requirements? See “No-Cost and Low-Cost Options” below.

Paired trash and recycling bin with callouts for color and labeling requirements.


Trash bin:

  • Must NOT be medium blue
  • Universal trash symbol must be visible when approached from any side

Recycling bin:

  • Must have a universal recycling symbol along with the word “recycle,” or “recycling,” or “recyclables” displayed on all approachable sides
  • The recycling symbol must be at least 5 1/2″ wide and tall if the container or its top is any color other than royal or medium blue. The “recycle” word choice must be at least 3/4″ tall
  • Must list mandatory recyclables in words or pictures


While these features and practices are not required by law, research has shown that they significantly increase the likelihood that your bins will capture the maximum recyclables with the least amount of contamination.

  • Choose recycling bins that are medium or royal blue–the universal recycling color. At a minimum, lids or area around opening should be “recycling blue”.
  • Choose trash bins that are black or gray.
  • Place bins within 2 feet of each other to help people make the right choice
  • List or show common “no’s” on recycling bin–NO coffee cups, NO plastic bags, NO food/drink–to reduce contamination
  • Choose a recycling bin that has a restricted opening to prevent contamination

No-Cost and Low-Cost Options to Meet Requirements

  • Remove any publicly accessible trash cans where you cannot supply a recycling bin that meets our requirements. (Restrooms are exempt from recycling bin requirement.)
  • Repurpose an existing trash can as a recycling bin. We’ll provide free labels and guidance on the best way to make it work.
  • Use our Grant Funding to pay for up to 50% of the cost of new qualifying bins.

More Information

For more information about these requirements, to get labels, or learn more about our grant funding opportunities, contact CSWD’s Business Outreach team.

Call 802-872-8100 x237