Zero-sort recycling comes to Rutland

Exciting news about recycling. No, really.

Casella Waste Management is opening a new, zero-sort recycling center in Rutland City, out at Green Hills Lane.

It would be nice to see the host city of Casella’s new, high-tech zero-sort plant adopt full zero-sort across the board, but there’s at least one initiative in the works. In partnership with the city and the Downtown Rutland Partnership, Casella will be installing and servicing recycling bins downtown in place of some of the existing trash receptacles … this according to the mayor, Chris Louras, who said both Public Works and the union are on board.

The cost will be $300 per month, which Louras said is less than the city pays DPW employees for picking up those containers.

Thus far, he doesn’t know when or if the transfer station, run by Rutland County Solid Waste District, will switch to zero sort, which opens up the possibility that dedicated recyclers will have to haul their No. 5 plastic yogurt tubs downtown to throw them away. Here’s hoping they sort that one out sooner rather than later.

Michael Coppinger, executive director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership, said there will be a dozen zero-sort bins replacing an equal number of trash receptacles, probably by the end of the month.

Matt Albertazzi is an account manager at Casella who has been working on the project. He said the company is just waiting for custom panels for the bins with downtown Rutland designs to be finished and he hopes to see the bins on the street next week.

Rutland will be the first downtown in Vermont with zero-sort containers, Coppinger said.

One of Rutland’s dirty little secrets is that we are among the worst recyclers in the state, and just adopting zero-sort would turn about an additional 30 percent of the trash in the city into recycleables.

Meanwhile, the plant will be having a grand opening on Nov. 18 from 1 to 4 PM. Tours start at 1 PM and speakers at 3 PM. Featured speakers include Gov. Peter Shumlin and John Casella, chairman and CEO of the company and one of the REDC members of the year, along with his brother Doug, for the work they did in Tropical Storm Irene relief.

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