How To Get There > Recycling Policies > Mandatory Recycling: Chittenden County, Vermont, USA

Mandatory Recycling: Chittenden County, Vermont, USA

Chittenden County, Vermont

Households, businesses and apartments are required to recycle designated materials. Property owners must provide recycling services to residents and tenants.

Action(s) Taken

  • Recycling Policies




Households, businesses and apartments are required to recycle designated materials. Property owners must provide recycling services to residents and tenants.

Overview of Recycling Requirements

All Chittenden County households, apartments, businesses and institutions must recycle designated materials including:

  • Aluminum foil, aluminum cans and steel cans
  • Glass food and beverage bottles and jars
  • Rigid plastic containers and plastic bottles
  • Mixed paper including cardboard, newspaper, paperboard, office paper, opened mail and magazines.

Property owners who provide trash services to residents or tenants must also provide recycling services for the designated materials. Any hauler picking up trash from a business must provide recycling collection at least once a month for the designated recyclables. Recycling containers provided by haulers must be blue and have a recycling decal.


Waste management for municipalities throughout Chittenden County is managed by the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD). CSWD collects a solid waste management fee of $22.06 per ton on all trash collected for disposal, not including recyclable materials, to manage and fund the programs.

CSWD provides up to three 16-gallon blue recycling bins for households and up to 50 four-gallon desk-side recycling bins for businesses, all at no charge. Household recycling bins can also be requested by businesses. (Some cities and private haulers are transitioning to recycling carts for service.) Recycling and composting stickers and decals are also provided at no charge.

Education and Enforcement

The district provides businesses with education and technical assistance on the mandatory recycling policy, including grants for collection containers, an onsite waste assessment and waste sort, and an evaluation for composting service.

Enforcement is typically handled through educational outreach and is focused on haulers. Fines are issued if necessary for businesses that are not recycling, up to $500 per incident. The majority of businesses have come into compliance readily. There is a form on the district’s website to report businesses that are not recycling.


A 2011 household survey found recycling participation was nearly 100% in Chittenden County. More than two thirds of residents use curbside recycling while almost a third uses the county drop-off centers.

In 2009, Chittenden County was recovering 46% of its waste. The CVSD solid waste plan called for increasing the recovery rate to 64% in the next five years.


Burlington, VT had Chittenden’s first curbside recycling program in 1987. There was strong grassroots support for recycling programs throughout the county as existing landfills began to fill and local environmental groups and concerned citizens opposed building new landfills.

In 1992, citizens of Chittenden County voted 70% in a nonbinding referendum to make recycling mandatory within the waste district. This paved the way for the ordinance in 1993.

In 2012, the state of Vermont expanded on successful programs like Chittenden County’s and adopted a universal recycling and composting law for all residents.


Chittenden County Household Recycling Participation Survey

Chittenden County Five Year Solid Waste Plan

Mandatory recycling in Chittenden County

More Information

Chittenden Solid Waste District – How to Recycle

Recycling Bins Stickers and Posters

Report a Non-Recycling Business in Chittenden County

Model City Profile: Chittenden County, Vermont

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