After three consecutive years of increasing waste generation, 2020 brought a pandemic-related reduction in generation. In 2021, Vermont saw a 2.4% increase in waste generation compared to 2020, although total generation was lower than in 2018 or 2019. Of the waste generated in 2021, Vermonter’s disposes of 66% of that waste and diverted (recycled, composted etc.) 34%. These rates of disposal and diversion have held steady throughout the last 10 years, despite increases in generation.
The disposal and diversion numbers are based on a combination of reports from Vermont facilities (landfill, materials recovery facilities, transfer stations, certified compost facilities, etc.) and estimates from studies such as the Vermont Waste Composition Study (conducted every 5 years). Consequently, while the disposal number is quite accurate, the diversion number is based on many estimates of diversion activities that are hard to quantify, such as reuse and home composting.