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News From the Sustainability Committee

Learn about the current state of recycling and the health and environmental issues concerning plastics at an event on Tuesday, September 3 at 6 pm at the Town Library.

Let’s talk trash and recycling.  Connecticut produces over 2 million tons of trash annually.  The state recycling rate is 34% but characterization studies show that up to 65% of what is disposed as trash is recyclable or compostable (Estimates of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Generated, Disposed, and Recycled FY2014).  Clearly there is room for improvement.  As many have heard in the last several months, China is accepting hardly any recycling from the US.  There are many reasons for this.  US recyclables have been highly contaminated and China has its own source of clean recyclable plastic right in China.  Consequently, the price for plastic as a commodity plummeted, affecting the finances of every town in the US.  Once a revenue generator, recycling has become an expense for municipalities.  Americans have become accustomed to the idea that recycling is profitable.  However, there is a greater purpose in recycling:  conserving raw materials, decreasing greenhouse gas production, reducing pollution and reducing the amount of material going to incinerators; and it happens to be the law.

As a Bronze Certified Sustainable CT town, the Woodbridge Sustainability Committee and the Board of Selectmen have made a commitment to sustainable actions to benefit the town and the state.  The committee is currently focusing their efforts on waste reduction and education.  Recycling is just one way to reduce waste.  To that end, The Sustainability Committee and the Committee on the Use of Publicly Owned Property (CUPOP) will be co-sponsoring a First Tuesday Workshop on Tuesday, September 3 from 6:00-8:00pm at the Woodbridge Town Library.  Guest speaker Sherill Baldwin of DEEP will discuss the current state of recycling in Connecticut and illuminate the details of What’s In? and What’s Out?-the what and why items can and cannot go into mixed recycling.  Patricia Taylor of Environment and Human Health, Inc. will address health and environmental issues concerning plastic production, consumption, disposal, disposal, pollution, and recycling and offer suggestions on how to reduce, reuse and recycle in Woodbridge.

Keep an eye out for future articles about other important waste reduction and sustainability issues such as plastics, zero waste, composting, downsizing and more from the Sustainability Committee.

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