Keep Haulers and Waste Workers Safe


April 27, 2020 – The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking Vermonters to take 10 key steps to protect essential trash and recycling workers. Following these steps can help reduce unnecessary person-to-person contact and possible virus transmission as well as ensure these essential workers are able to continue to collect and sort our trash and recyclables. 

For Vermonters who have curbside trash and recycling pickup:

  1. Maintain social distancing. Do not approach trash and recycling workers when they come to your house or apartment.
  2. Make sure all your trash is in a bag and tied. Do not leave any trash loose in or around your bin.
  3. Wipe down the handles of trash and recycling bins before placing them at the curb and again when you collect them.
  4. Place trash out the night before your usual pickup to ensure it is picked up on your scheduled day. With the increase in residential waste, drivers are leaving earlier to finish their regular routes.
  5. Take the time to learn EXACTLY what belongs in your recycling bin and “when in doubt, throw it out.” It is very important to recycle right to reduce the burden on recycling workers. Learn what you can and can’t recycle at
  6. DO NOT put banned and dangerous items in the trash like used oil, propane tanks, paint, electronic waste, or household hazardous waste. Please hold on to these items and bring them to collection events and locations once the state of emergency has ended. Find household hazardous waste collection information from your local solid waste management district or town at
  7. Put used gloves, masks, wipes, and other personal protective equipment in the trash. They do NOT belong in your recycling bin.

For Vermonters taking trash, food scraps, or recycling to solid waste facilities:

  1. Wear a mask and practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet of space between other customers and staff.
  2. Bring only trash, food scraps, and blue bin recyclables.
    1. Recyclables should be empty of liquids and clean.
    2. All trash should be in bags.
    3. Minimize the number of trips you make by storing materials for as long as you can. Trash can be stored longer if food scraps are composted at home or managed separately. Learn more at
  1. Call before you go to check hours of operation and available services. Many facilities have reduced hours and/or changed operations.

DEC works to achieve the greatest feasible reduction in the amount of waste and to reduce the volume and toxicity of the waste stream. Learn how you can reduce your waste, recycle right and compost with confidence at