University of Vermont

Master Gardeners Turn Waste Into Valuable Resources

By 2020, the final phase of Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law (Act 148) will go into effect. When it does, food scraps will be banned from landfill disposal, and many households will need to find new ways to dispose of this organic waste. Composting is a natural and valuable option which converts food scraps into soil, but it takes training to learn how to do it properly.

UVM Extension’s Master Composter Program,* coordinated by Beret Halverson, has offered this education since 2003. More than 1,000 people have participated. Some have gone on to become Certified Master Composter volunteers who educate others and support community- based projects. As a result of the course, sixty percent of students made changes to the way they dispose of organic waste and another 30 percent had plans to do so within six months.

Currently, there are 37 Certified Master Composters logging volunteer hours supporting long- and short-term community- based projects. Master Composters use these hands-on opportunities to teach a growing number of Vermonters about composting. In doing so, the program is helping the state successfully implement Act 148, save space in landfills, and make use of valuable organic waste.

For more information, visit


*Sponsored by UVM Extension Master Gardener and Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

NIFA supports UVM Extension: This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture.