Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced a settlement agreement with Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) today regarding the District’s improper dumping of approximately 18,000 tons of processed glass between 2013 and 2018. As part of the agreement, CSWD is required to make payments totaling $400,000, $178,000 of which will go to the State. The rest will be paid out over six months to fund environmental projects that benefit the public. CSWD has admitted to the facts (which amount to environmental violations) as part of the agreement.
CSWD has violated environmental regulations and the public’s trust by collecting material meant for recycling and then secretly dumping thousands of tons of processed glass in unapproved locations for years. There can be no doubt that CSWD officials knew that dumping the glass was wrong, but the threat to the environment is just part of it.
The credibility of CSWD officials is hanging by a thread at this point. They repeatedly failed to mention to their customers and to various state and local officials that they had essentially been dumping glass over the side of the road for years.
Residents and businesses that separated their glass for recycling have every reason to be outraged by the District’s actions. CSWD is responsible not only for harming the environment but for shaking the public’s confidence in Vermont’s critical recycling programs too.
This agreement will require CSWD to pay significant fines and force them to disclose what’s happening with their glass in the future. That’s good, but it’s a shame that a legal agreement with the Attorney General is required for CSWD to tell the truth.
We urge CSWD officials to go further – to apologize to their customers and to all Vermont residents. They should vow never to violate environmental regulations again, and instead support the expansion of programs for glass recycling that work well, such as Vermont’s successful Bottle Bill.
While secretly dumping glass they claimed to be recycling, CSWD officials have opposed Bottle Bill expansion efforts supported by Vermont consumers and environmentalists. With this agreement today, let’s hope CSWD really changes course and stops standing in the way of recycling that works.
Materials pertaining to the settlement can be found below: