Tuesday, April 15, 2008

CRRA bringing the future of recycling to Connecticut

CRRA is working on two fronts to bring the future of recycling to Connecticut.

Hartford pilot program

CRRA has joined forces with the City of Hartford and the National Recycling Partnership in an effort to help increase recycling participation and tonnages.

A pilot program funded by the National Recycling Partnership -– a coalition of grocery, food and beverage producers and retailers under the direction of the National Recycling Coalition -– will introduce single-stream recycling to about 5,000 households throughout the city. Unlike the familiar curbside recycling system, in which paper and cardboard are separated from bottles, cans and other containers, single-stream recycling means that a resident can put all his recyclables into the same barrel, making it easier for people to recycle. And because the Hartford system will use 64-gallon barrels, rather than the 14-gallon bins currently in use, people will be able to recycle more material.

“We value our relationships with our host communities, so we were delighted to be part of this effort to help Hartford improve its recycling,” said Thomas D. Kirk, CRRA president. “In many other cities, single-stream has dramatically improved recycling rates. We believe this is the future of recycling.”

CRRA’s Mid-Connecticut Project provides disposal of recyclables to Hartford and 69 other communities at its Hartford recycling facility, but because single-stream recyclables require different sorting and processing systems than the current dual-stream system, recyclables collected from homes participating in the pilot program will be delivered to a single-stream facility in Auburn, Mass.

CRRA provides its recycling services at no charge thanks to revenues from selling recyclables to companies who turn them into new products. To bring the pilot program to fruition, CRRA, the National Recycling Partnership and FCR, Inc., which operates CRRA’s recycling facility, reached an agreement which guaranteed CRRA would not lose any revenue during the program’s 12-month duration.

Single-stream for all Mid-Conn towns

Meanwhile, CRRA is moving toward retrofitting its Mid-Connecticut Project recycling center to accept single-stream recycling deliveries from all 70 Mid-Conn towns.

Earlier this month, the Policies & Procurement Committee of the CRRA board approved spending $3 million to retrofit the facility. The measure must still be approved by the full board at its meeting on April 24.

For more than a year, towns and private haulers from all over the state have been asking CRRA to switch to single-stream recycling. Haulers like it because they can automate their collections, meaning fewer worker injuries, lower worker's compensation costs and more efficient collections, while towns like it because they believe -- as does CRRA -- that single-stream will reduce the amount of trash they pay to dispose of while increasing (at least for Mid-Connecticut Project towns) the $10-per-ton rebate they receive for bringing their recyclables to CRRA.

We'll keep you posted.

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