Compost

This label is showing up more frequently alongside bins for recycling and trash.
Toby Talbot / AP

Vermont is now three years into its plan to get the whole state on board with universal recycling and composting.  But when you look at the number inside the triangle with arrows, do you know immediately what kind of plastic it is and how to recycle it? And are you occasionally still scrapping food scraps into the garbage?

This label is showing up more frequently alongside bins for recycling and trash.
Toby Talbot / AP

Vermont's Universal Recycling Law sets an ambitious target: all materials that can be recycled or composted will be banned from landfills in 2020. To get there, the state is phasing in the law and taking the first big steps this summer.

VPR/John Dillon

Last year, hundreds of gardeners in northern Vermont were shocked to learn that the compost they bought to nourish their plants had instead damaged them with trace amounts of chemical herbicides.

A year after the widespread contamination, officials have tracked down the main source of the problem to horse manure from a farm in Colchester.

The investigation involved scientific detective work and led to the discovery that persistent herbicides are found in both compost and the human food supply.