To the Selectboard:
I was vice chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee when we wrote and passed Act 148, and I'm mystified by the Town's decision to require special trash bags for future disposal of solid waste. It certainly is not necessary to comply with the law -- which simply states in the relevant section, "By no later than July 1, 2015, a municipality shall implement a variable-rate pricing system that charges for the collection of municipal solid waste from a residential customer for disposal based on the volume or weight of the waste collected."
First, Norwich has been in compliance with this section of the law for some time now. The law's goal is to discourage Vermonters from filling up our limited landfill space by making us pay to throw out trash rather than recycle -- "pay as you throw." But we've already been doing this in Norwich through our card system, which loosely charges by volume delivered to the dumpster. There's no need to come up with a new, super-precise designer system.
The irony is that the underlying goal of Act 148 is to minimize the material headed to our landfills while gradually making it illegal to put certain defined material in the trash (first classic recyclables, then yard and lawn waste, and by 2020 all food waste). By mandating the use of large plastic garbage bags, Norwich would be acting outside the spirit of the law by actually adding to the waste stream (with petroleum-based plastics, at that).