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Waste district to pay $400,000 over glass disposal

December 29, 2020 GMT

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The Chittenden Solid Waste District has agreed to pay more than $400,000 for disposing of recyclable processed glass on its Williston property, the Vermont attorney general said Tuesday.

Under the settlement agreement, CSWD admits that it received the glass for recycling, processed it and then used some in a landfill cap and to level off a compost area, the attorney general’s office said.

The remaining more than 15,000 tons was deposited over a bank at the end of a road, but CSWD reported that it had been “transferred off-site” for use in “local projects.”

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The state accused CSWD of violating Vermont’s solid waste management rules and land use law and believes it avoided significant costs of having the glass processed and recycled properly.

“Vermonters care about our environment and recognize the value of recycling,” Attorney General T.J. Donovan said in a written statement. “Vermonters deserve to know — and should be able to trust — what happens to the glass they put in the recycling bin. No one expects it to end up in a pile over the bank.”

CSWD said between May 2014 and March 2018 it used the processed glass aggregate at a compost land-grading project, to fix a depression in a closed landfill cap, and to shore up an embankment next to the road at the closed Williston landfill.

At the time CSWD staff “acted in good faith” that the use of the recycled glass was consistent with the state’s policy and reflected industry standards for managing the material, executive director Sarah Reeves said in a written statement released Tuesday.

“Though we disagree with the State’s allegations, we understand that these past decisions caused confusion, concern, and mistrust in how CSWD has managed glass processed at our Materials Recovery Facility,” she said. “We are committed to ensuring that our management of glass and other recyclables is environmentally sound and transparent to the public.”

Under the settlement agreement, CSWD must pay $78,000 in penalties and $322,000 to account for the economic benefits of not properly recycling the glass, the attorney general’s office said.

Of the total settlement, more than $178,000 will go to the state and $222,000 will be paid over six months to fund one or more supplemental environmental projects that will benefit the public, the office said.

It also must post information on its website and in its publications about what happens to glass accepted for recycling at its facility and how the processed glass is managed generally.