About that Whopper from Casella…

H.175 is the best opportunity we’ve had in decades to modernize Vermont’s popular Bottle Bill. Recently, hundreds of our VPIRG members responded to our call to action and sent an email to their representatives in the Legislature. This added a burst of momentum to our campaign and apparently scared the bejesus out of the corporate opponents of the Bottle Bill.    

John Casella of the regional waste giant, Casella Waste Systems, wrote a letter to all legislators filled with misinformation and one whopper of a lie

In his letter to legislators, John Casella suggested that “The most dangerous part of the effort by groups such as CLF and VPIRG is that, without proper knowledge, they seem logical.” OK, that’s not the lie. We do try to be logical.  

But Casella went on to share his “proper knowledge” by claiming that recycled materials processed at Material Recovery Facilities run by his company in Vermont “are sold into the exact same markets, with the same buyers, as the material that comes from the bottle redemption system.” 

He’s saying there’s no difference in the way material is recycled whether it goes through the Bottle Bill or the more contaminated curbside programs. That’s not true. Let’s look at glass as an example. 

Nearly 100% of the glass bottles returned for redemption under the Bottle Bill are recycled into products – mostly new glass bottles. Meanwhile, the Chittenden Solid Waste District just coughed up $400,000 three months ago to settle a case with the VT Attorney General having to do with the District’s secret dumping of glass meant for recycling over a period of at least five years. In all, at least 18,000 TONS of glass – equal to about 33 million empty wine bottles – were illegally dumped instead of being recycled.  

Why was the glass secretly dumped? A 2019 document from Casella in NY may explain why: 

Glass that is redeemed through the bottle bill system is much more likely to end up in a higher end use than glass produced at Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs). This is because it is kept separate from other materials, whereas glass produced by MRFs is contaminated with shredded paper, bottle caps, straws, corks, and other small items.  

If Casella the company told the truth in 2019, then Casella the owner told a lie to Vermont state legislators this week. 

Don’t let Casella and Coke kill Bottle Bill modernization in Vermont. Contact your legislators today and encourage them to update the Bottle Bill – support H.175!