Town of Newtown

Sustainable Materials Management Program

Funding provided by the Sustainable Materials Management Grants Program administered by the CT DEEP

 

In September of 2023 the Town of Newtown joined other towns in the state piloting a program to reduce the generation of household waste and increase food scraps collection.

 

The State of Connecticut is in a Waste Crisis. This program addresses the crisis that was created in 2022 when the state lost one-third of its in-state disposal capacity with the permanent closure of the Materials Innovation and Recovery Authority’s waste-to-energy plant in Hartford’s South End.

 

The state generates 3.5 million tons of waste but can only manage 2.7 million tons. What can’t be managed internally is being shipped out of state to other waste-to-energy plants or landfills. This makes Connecticut dependent upon other states to accept our waste at a higher cost, both economically and environmentally.

 

By reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting, we can significantly cut our waste and carbon footprint. The pilot program, though optional, is aimed to encourage participation and to help plan for the future. Since its inception, the transfer station has reduced waste by 108.5 tons and collected 55.5 tons of compostable organics. By separating food waste and paper alone, we could reduce our waste by more than 50%.

 

We are extending the pilot another year with some changes to help us collect enhanced data.  The overall goal is to not only reduce waste, but for customers to eventually to pay only for what they dispose of. Paying for the waste one generates will incentivize less waste production.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE logo

What is this all about?

Why is Newtown Doing This?

CONNECTICUT IS FACING A WASTE CRISIS

  • Waste disposal capacity in the U.S. is shrinking.
  • The New England region is expected to lose 40% of its trash disposal capacity in the next 5 years and up to 100% by 2040.
  • The State of Connecticut generates 3.5 million tons of municipal solid waste (trash) annually.  However, the state only has capacity to manage 2.7 million tons of trash
  • This loss of trash disposal capacity is significantly affecting ALL Connecticut communities.
  • The alternative of trucking CT trash up to 600 miles out of state is expensive and not sustainable. We need a new approach.
How does the program work?

How will it work beginning July 1, 2024?

 

  • Recycling is FREE of charge at the transfer station for all Newtown residents.
  • Only orange bags will be accepted at the transfer station for your trash disposal.
  • As transfer station permittee or household, you will receive 104 orange trash bags as part of your permit. Permit fees will remain the same as the previous year.
  • Additional bags will be available for purchase at costif you run out of free bags.
  • As the process is refined and as more information becomes available, the Town website will be updated.

 

Regular recycling of paper, plastic, metal and glass will continue as usual.

How much does it cost?

Town of Newtown Transfer Station Permit fees will remain the same:

  • Year Pass – $100 in person
  • Senior – $90 in person
  • Second Car – $10

 

ALL residents who have purchased a transfer station permit will receive, for FREE, 104 orange trash bags for household trash.

Acceptable waste items

Regular household trash is acceptable in the orange SMM pilot program bags.

 

DO NOT place any of the following in your orange bag:

  • Recyclable items (paper, plastic of metal)
  • Food scraps (use compostable bags)
  • Textiles
  • Yard Waste
  • Dirt, sod, concrete or rock
  • Construction/Demolition debris
  • Household hazardous waste
  • Hot ashes or flammable materials such as oil, gas or paint

 

Click here to learn more about what is accepted and not accepted at the Town of Newtown’s Transfer Station.

 

Click here to learn more about the food scrap recycling program.

FAQs

Do I Have To Participate?

During this second pilot year, all transfer station users will be required to use the provided orange bags provided with your permit fee.

If you are not already participating in the Town of Newtown Food Scrap Recycling program we ask each resident to give it a try separate out food scraps as best they can and place them in the compostable bags available from the Town of Newtown. With rising disposal costs, it is important to separate out food scraps and recyclables from disposal. Learn more about the food scrap recycling program here.

Do I still recycle?

YES! And we hope you will recycle MORE! There are no changes to the recycling program. Remember to keep your material loose and check the list of acceptable items, we also want you to recycle right

 

Questions about recycling? Learn more about recycling here.

Won't This Create More Work?

Not really. You are just replacing your current black/white kitchen bag with an orange bag.

How Do I Get My Bags?

Each Transfer Station permit holder will receive 104 Orange Trash Bags with their permit.

Additional bags will be available at the transfer station and public works department as needed.

A roll of 13 gallon bags is $3.50 (this is at cost to the Town of Newtown)

Is this actually going to work?

The program introduces the idea of moving the cost to dispose of trash for ONLY what YOU throw away.

 

The less trash you make, the more you SAVE.

 

With these tools, you can reduce your trash and save money. And turning our food waste into renewable energy makes more sense.

 

You may be trying this for the first time, but towns all over the U.S. (and the world!) have implemented similar trash reduction programs and have found success!

Newtown will succeed with your participation!

What If I Need Additional Bags?

Residents are encouraged to be sure to recycle all they can and separate their food scraps to stay with in the allotted orange trash bags. More details coming soon on the opportunity to get additional orange trash bags.

I Backyard Compost. Should I Participate?

Backyard composting is great and encouraged! You may decide you want to use the food scrap recycling program for certain items (eggshells, meat, bones, and dairy, prepared foods) or to use in the winter.

 

Learn more about the Town of Newtown Food Scrap Recycling Program HERE.

Should I My In-Sink Disposal for Food Scraps?

To reduce the risk of costly sewer backups, we strongly urge residents to switch from in-sink disposals and use the food scrap recycling program for food scraps. It will also save on your water usage and produce usable fertilizer.

What Else Can I Do?

Reduce your food waste. Keep your refrigerator clean and organized so you know what you have before you shop. Store leftovers in clear containers so you can see what’s in them. Use a shopping list. Use your freezer. Reduce other household waste by avoiding single use disposable items and choose products with minimal packaging.

Reuse: Use reusable shopping bags and coffee mugs. Repurpose glass jars at home. Donate household items and clothing. Consider cloth napkins.

Recycle: Remember the basics: Recycle your paper & cardboard and empty bottles & cans. Items should be clean and dry and placed loose in your collection bin. Learn more here.

Compost: Place all your food scraps in the compostable bags! Fruits & Veggies, Eggs & Eggshells, Meat & Seafood (include bones and shells), Coffee Grounds & Tea Bags, Dairy, Pasta, Grains & Bread, Cookies, Cake, & Candy.  Please no plastic, no metal, no sanitary waste, no pet waste.