Facing A Crisis, It’s Time for Connecticut to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…and Rethink

You may be familiar with the three “R’s” of waste management – reduce, reuse, and recycle. This year the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is encouraging residents, businesses, and community leaders to add a fourth “R” to the equation: Rethink.

Connecticut is facing a waste crisis, as traditional options for disposing of municipal solid waste are slowly diminishing.  Five waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities in the state handle the majority of the 2.4 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) that is disposed each year.  One of these facilities, the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) waste-to-energy facility in Hartford, is an aging facility and is likely to shut down.

“This is a silent crisis, a quiet crisis, but a crisis nonetheless,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “Many towns are struggling with increased tip fees and all of the indicators are telling us that the situation will get worse.  The good news is that if we act now, we can rethink our waste system and invest in sustainable materials management solutions that will help us limit our reliance on landfills and waste-to-energy facilities in the future.”

According to a 2015 study, nearly 40% of what residents throw away is material that could be recycled.  Another 35% is organic material—food scraps and yard waste—that can be donated, composted, and processed into animal feed.

So let’s rethink about what we put at the curb and start by diverting organics, it’s easier than you think.

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