Is my trash against the law?

By James O’Brien, Staff Writer

VLS prides itself on its diverse student body, which has a wide range of interests that go far beyond property law or the legislation and regulation survey. These inspiring students often partake in the numerous student-led organizations on campus, which offer any Swan a chance to learn something new, meet new friends, or continue practicing something they already love. The Organic Waste Diversion (OWD) Committee is one particular group you might not know too much about.

If you’re anything like me, this group sounds very interesting from the title alone, but might make you wonder; what exactly is this committee? To help shed some light on the matter I recently sat down, virtually that is, with a member of the committee and recent VLS grad, Lindsay De May, to ask some questions and get to the bottom of this.

My first question to De May was the most obvious, what exactly is organic waste?

“Organic waste is essentially any materials that will biodegrade,” she said. “However, the committee is more focused on food waste.” De May explained the wide range of things that can fit under this umbrella, but that in order to stick to the primary focus of the group, it’s best to think of organic waste as the types of material you would consider your “compostable items.”

This naturally led me to my next question of who the OWD committee is and why it was formed?

“The group is a combination of students, faculty, and even alums who gathered inspiration from the Greening Committee on campus and wanted to explore more organic waste diversion methods in the SoRo community,” she said. De May went on to tell me that the committee shifted a bit in focus when the newly enacted Vermont Recycling Law, Act 148. De May told me the law “banned the disposal of food scraps into Vermonter’s trash bins, which obviously has direct implications on students at VLS, and the entire SoRo community.” De May told me, “the goal of the committee is not distinctly defined but has since shifted to dissect what exactly Act 148 requires the SoRo community to do, and how the committee can spread education and awareness about appropriate organic waste diversion consistent with this new law.”

I next asked De May about the recent waste survey the OWD committee sent out, and how those results have since guided the efforts of the committee.

“The results of the survey were great,” she said enthusiastically. “We got a lot of good information regarding how many residents are already composting, how much residents already know about both Act 148 and the principles of composting, and some of the issues participants have regarding organic waste diversion in South Royalton.” She went on to tell me that the committee was very excited to see how many people in the community are already composting and want to learn more. The committee is still in the process of analyzing the results and at their next meeting hope to discuss how they can use that information to identify “the most valuable role they can play moving forward,” she said.

Photo by Michelle Amidzich/The Forum.

My final question was where students can go to get more information or even get involved?

“Email me,” De May said. “The best way to get more information about the committee or anything else is to simply email me, or anyone else on the committee.” De May also let me know that the next committee meeting is coming up and anyone can join. The meeting will be delivered via Teams on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.

Listed below are the names of those on the committee and their contact information. If you want to learn more, or if you want to at least make sure you aren’t breaking the law next time you take out the trash, send them a message.

Student Committee Members:

Lindsay De May – Lindsaydemay@vermontlaw.edu

Casey Hess – CaseyHess@vermontlaw.edu

Allison Berg – AllisonBerg@vermontlaw.edu

Vanessa Romero – VanessaRomero@vermontlaw.edu

Blake Weinard – blakeweinard@vermontlaw.edu

Michelle Amidzich – michelleamidzich@vermontlaw.edu

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