Separation of Power: Recycling

recycling 2NORTHEAST KINGDOM- The Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District is a power house in recycling across the Northeast region of Vermont. So what factors allow one local town to successfully recycle without being part of the district?

"We're collecting recycling from twenty-seven facilities scattered throughout the Northeast Kingdom, and we get materials from 5 different counties, not just what we get from walk-in, but what we pickup as well," said NEKWMD Director Paul Tomasi.


The headquarters located in Lyndon, has its hands all over the NEK, but its neighbor to the south are doing their own thing.

"St. Johnsbury is the largest town in Caledonia County, and serves as its own waste management district, where whoever owns the transfer station in town, works with the town to provide the necessary education components for schools," Waste Reduction and Recycling Committee Member Tara Holt said. "We also contract with them to provide recycling facilities for residents."

St. Johnsbury has its own transfer station, where residents can bring their own garbage and recycling. Joining the NEKWMD has been an idea in the past, and with a new administration running the town, the idea of joining the district has been brought up once again.

"Twice in the last nine years there has been the idea of joining has been brought up," Holt said. "Tomasi approached the new town administration to open the conversation, but from where we sit in St. J, it's hard to see how it would financially make sense to join."

The financial aspect of joining would increase taxes for residents in the town, and would diminish the transfer station. This would force St. J residents to either bring their waste to Lyndon, or pay for road-side pickup.

"The cost to taxpayers wold go up, and convenience fees of having someone pick up waste would increase for households," Holt said.

The NEKWMD cover almost fifty towns, and serves almost 47 thousand residents. Burke is the only other town in the Northeast Kingdom that is not part of the district.