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As Towns Struggle With Waste, Recycling, As Revenue Is Lost & Expenses Mount, CCM Urges State To Incentivize Towns, Identify Funding And More

As Towns Struggle With Waste, Recycling, As Revenue Is Lost & Expenses Mount, CCM Urges State To Incentivize Towns, Identify Funding And More

For immediate release, March 31, 2021

Kevin Maloney, 203-710-3486

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) is calling on State leaders to support solutions that will create a better future for municipal waste management and recycling as viable local government enterprises.  

Local leaders have worked closely with DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes and the DEEP staff and the Connecticut Coalition for Sustainable Materials Management (CCSMM) over the last year with a focus on finding solutions to the State’s waste management crisis. 

Key CCM-member municipal leaders at the front of these efforts include Matthew Knickerbocker, First Selectman of Bethel, Ben Blake, Mayor of Milford, Laura Hoydick, Mayor of Stratford, and Laura Francis, First Selectman of Durham.  

As part of a holistic solutions approach, CCM is also calling on the state to collaborate with their local leaders to evaluate current markets and identify new local and regional opportunities for unconventional or novel uses of recycling and municipal solid waste material; and to consider tax breaks and recycled materials minimums to help foster the creation of new markets. 

Municipal leaders believe fostering this type of economic development will provide solutions for the entire waste management system – MSW and recycling – and should be a critical component to managing this current crisis.

Local leaders are also calling for eliminating glass from the single stream. It is critical that the state consider a source separated system for glass to not only alleviate costs to communities, but to also assist in reducing contamination to the stream. Additionally, CCM supports efforts to begin to find solutions for the removal of organic waste from the municipal solid waste stream. We understand the complexities of organics removal, and as such would caution that any source separated system that is created does not leave municipalities with the financial burdens of separate hauling costs. 

Source separate back to top

CCM believes taking steps to begin to source separate these materials are critical. Expansions in S.B. 1037 to the bottle deposit law, specifically provisions in the bill to include wine and liquor glass bottles, are critical, equally as critical, CCM recommends that any new revenue is protected and “recycled” back into the system to support important infrastructure and process improvements, and that language be included in S.B. 1037 to remove glass from the recycling stream all together.

Municipal officials continue to believe that the recycling crisis will not be resolved quickly.  The sustained decision of China to not accept materials with over 0.5 percent contamination will not go away. Moreover, China has initiated a massive recycling effort of its own that will use the freed-up capacity of its recycling facilities with domestic materials. 

“Connecticut towns and cities cannot afford to ride the volatile waste management markets,” said Joe DeLong, CCM Executive Director and CEO. “There are ideas out there for municipalities to reduce the tipping fees for their towns; in one case that means banning certain items altogether, in another you remove items like glass and organic material from the stream altogether. Let’s not let perfection be the enemy of progress here and encourage the legislature to support bills before them to provide small but significant steps towards a holistic solution to our waste management crisis.”