Americans all across the country have taken steps to lessen their impact on the environment through practices such as recycling, and for a time, communities were rewarded for their recycling efforts – until the world’s largest importer of recycled goods declared that those items were too contaminated, and thus, detrimental to the health and wellbeing of their own citizens.
Now, instead of receiving a credit for recycling, communities across the state are paying to have their recycled items removed. In central Connecticut, fourteen communities have banded together as the collective known as the Bristol Resource Recovery Facility Operating Committee housed at Covanta Bristol, and through BRRFOC, have signed a contract with Murphy Road Recycling, LLC.
Bristol, Plainville, and Southington have been joined by Berlin, Branford, Burlington, Hartland, New Britain, Plymouth, Prospect, Seymour, Warren, Washington, and Wolcott to form this collective.
Southington town manager Mark Sciota said that the impact to Southington is different from the impact on the other BRRFOC communities.
Unlike many towns that offer solid waste and recycling pickup to their residents—costs factored in through taxes—Southington residents have their own individual contracts with three individual removal companies. Because of this, the town budget will not be impacted by the change in recycling costs, but rather, residents would notice an increase in their garbage bill.
Southington’s removal companies—All Waste, HQ Dumpsters and Recycling, and Waste Material Trucking—will continue to bring solid waste to Covanta Bristol, but where they bring recycled materials depends on the agreement those companies have with recycling facilities.
In Sciota’s opinion, recycling is becoming a crisis in Connecticut because of the market drying up. He said it has become very difficult to find companies to take recycled goods, whether they are in or out of the country.
The BRRFOC contract with Murphy Road will be in effect for two years.
In an effort to educate residents about alternatives to recycling, and best recycling practices, Plainville has begun working with an individual to create a town-wide marketing campaign. In Bristol, the Department of Public works has been hosting workshops for the public to learn about techniques such as composting, to reduce overall waste tonnage.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.