CSWD says compostable food wares on the chopping block

Local waste management services say those compostable plates, utensils and containers offered...
Local waste management services say those compostable plates, utensils and containers offered by some restaurants and stores cause more harm than good.(WCAX)
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 3:58 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2021 at 3:16 PM EDT
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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Many local restaurants and stores offer compostable plates, utensils or containers, as opposed to traditional single-use plastic or paper items. But local waste management services now say those cause more harm than good.

Starting on New Year’s Day, compostable food wares will no longer be accepted by the Chittenden Solid Waste District. They say this decision comes after much deliberation but ultimately, they think it’s the best move.

When Vermont’s universal recycling law went into effect in July 2020, composting facilities like CSWD saw a huge influx of food scraps. But with a massive increase of food scraps, came a massive increase of noncompostable contamination.

According to CSWD, much of that comes from confusion about which food wares are compostable and which ones aren’t.

So to combat the issue altogether, the waste management service has elected to stop accepting compostable food wares altogether.

Aside from issues with compost contamination from plastics, metals and even glass, chemicals are a major concern as well. CSWD says many of the compostable products are lined with PFAS, a chemical often found in firefighting foams, linked to negative health risks and soil contamination.

The Chittenden Solid Waste District will keep accepting these items until Jan. 1, 2022. They say it’s not a change in state laws, so businesses can continue to use the products if they so choose.

They say the products will break down in personal compost bins, but you should make sure they are not lined with PFAS. Otherwise, these containers should just go in the trash.

While the best choice is always to use reusable plates, forks and cups, if you need to use a single-use product, CSWD suggests recyclable plastic.

They will continue to accept compostable food waste bags and liners.

CSWD was the only waste management service in Vermont still accepting these compostable wares.

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