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'Brave Little State' Finds Out What Happens To Vermont's Recycling

The unrecyclables, as seen at the Williston MRF.
Elodie Reed
The unrecyclables, as seen at the Williston MRF.

Julie Ste. Marie of Troy wants to know whether people are following Vermont's new recycling law, and where, exactly, all those recyclables end up. Her question kicks off the latest episode of Brave Little State.

Each month, Brave Little State — VPR's people-powered journalism project — asks you, the listener, to ask the questions you want answered and be a part of the reporting process. And each month, you can hear the latest episode on Vermont Edition.

This month, Julie Ste. Marie's question takes Brave Little State host and creator Angela Evancie, along with reporter Howard Weiss-Tisman, into an exploration of Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law, which passed unanimously in 2012, and how it has been rolling out in phases.

And the reporting duo follow the path of all those tin cans, plastic bottles and glass jars to learn where they actually go after Vermonters drop them in the recycling bin.

Along the way, they tour one of the biggest recycling facilities in the state, delve into the complex markets for recycled materials which dictate just how much a ton of recycled paper or plastic is worth, and learn about the way one Vermont business owner is looking to turn recycled materials into something totally new.
Broadcast live on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

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