DEEP and Towns Partner to Reduce Waste

DEEP and Municipal Leaders Announce Connecticut Coalition for Sustainable Materials Management to Pursue Waste Reduction Strategies

First Selectman Matt Hoey stated that “This initiative is consistent with our status as a Silver Certified Sustainable CT community and I am proud to add Guilford’s voice and commitment to this coalition to address Waste Reduction Strategies.”

Today, 65 Connecticut cities and towns and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) released a statement committing to work together as part of a Connecticut Coalition for Sustainable Materials Management (CCSMM), a joint effort between DEEP and municipalities across the state to collectively pursue improved waste reduction strategies.  Commissioner Katie Dykes, Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker and Durham First Selectman Laura Francis will serve as co-chairs of this initiative, which aims to develop a set of waste reduction action items by the end of 2020.

“The residents and businesses of Connecticut deserve a waste system that provides reliable disposal options at an affordable and predictable cost, advances our state’s leadership on sustainability, and reduces adverse environmental impacts and disproportionate burdens on certain communities in our state,” a joint statement by the coalition reads.  “As state and municipal leaders, we share a vision of an equitable, sustainable, affordable waste system, and are committed to advancing innovative solutions and supporting critical services needed to achieve that goal.”

This initiative comes at a critical time in Connecticut’s waste management sector, with waste-to-energy infrastructure like the MIRA Resource Recovery facility aging and potentially reaching the end of their useful life.  Absent the implementation of some of the waste management strategies that will be discussed by the members of this initiative, it is likely that an increased amount of the state’s municipal solid waste would be shipped out of state for landfilling.  Landfilling is the least preferred management option for solid waste and can be minimized by embracing more sustainable practices as identified in the State’s Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy.  These more favorable options include source reduction, recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion and other conversion technologies.    

CCSMM will hold a public kick-off meeting on September 8, with the goal of developing waste reduction-related action items that can be implemented by DEEP, by municipalities, or will require statutory changes by the end of December 2020.  This will be accomplished by breaking into working groups on specific topics – such as organics collection – and by engaging stakeholders and developers with innovative solutions. The meetings of CCSMM will be open to the public.  To date, 65 municipalities have signed on to this initiative, and more are considering joining.

“Last month, Governor Lamont called for a new outlook regarding Connecticut’s materials management and encouraged the pursuit of innovative strategies to reduce and manage our waste.  DEEP is eager to work with municipal partners and engage community leaders and stakeholders around the state.  We will work to develop achievable and innovative actions we can each take that,  collectively,  will build a materials management system that benefits all of Connecticut in an affordable, sustainable, environmental, and just fashion,” said DEEP Commissioner and initiative co-chair, Katie Dykes.  “Connecticut’s municipal leaders are vital to the success of this effort and we are grateful for the enthusiastic support for this initiative and the potential for meaningful change it opens before us.”

“I thank Commissioner Dykes for launching this bold initiative and I am delighted to join my colleagues from across the state as we tackle this critically important mission. Our communities are approaching a critical point. The old ways of burying trash and forgetting about it are over. We must work together to create actionable solutions that are affordable for Connecticut families and do more to protect our fragile environment.” Said Matt Knickerbocker, initiative co-chair and First Selectman of Bethel, CT.

“I applaud Commissioner Dykes for her willingness to work side by side with municipalities on this initiative.  I firmly believe that our collective need, knowledge, creativity and commitment to protecting our environment will generate innovative solutions for sustainable materials management for the State of Connecticut,” said Laura Francis,  initiative co-chair and First Selectman of Durham, CT.

For more information on this initiative, please visit https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP-CCSMM

A list of towns who have signed on to the initiative is available at the above website as well as a copy of the joint statement.

More at: portal.ct.gov/deep| Follow on Facebook at CTDEEP| Follow on Twitter @CTDEEPNews

https://www.fsa.usda.gov/news-room/news-releases/2020/usda-announces-cooperative-agreements-for-community-compost-and-food-waste-reduction

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