Residents’ Cooperation Means More Efficient Recycling
To the Editor:
Regarding the September 9 letter first published online at newtownbee.com from Gordon Strother, “Proper Recycling Is No Laughing Matter.”
Dear Mr. Strother,
I am the Executive Director of the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority. I appreciate your concern about the mixed recycling stream and how it is managed at the Newtown Transfer Station. It is a great question why are we mixing the material and could it be collected more efficiently.
First, I want to say as a member of the HRRA, the Town of Newtown takes waste reduction and recycling serious. The collection of mixed recycling isn’t perfect, but it does have many benefits that make the method valuable, such as increased recycling from residents both at the curb and at the transfer station. It is the most efficient method to collect the multiple types of recyclable packaging. However, mixed recycling only works when residents collect only the acceptable items listed in the State of Connecticut’s universal recycling guide “What’s In What’s Out.” The issue isn’t mixing the material; the issue is residents putting items in that they hope or wish could be recycled. The material is sent to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Shelton where it is sorted and bailed for the market, and the items are made into new products. The best approach to recycling is to check the acceptable list and recycle right.
The Town of Newtown does collect some items separately and has made great strides towards the State of Connecticut’s waste reduction goals by implementing programs such as the collection of food scraps for composting, a special separate collection for plastic bags and film, and separate collection of shredded paper. Soon, the Town of Newtown will join other HRRA member towns in collecting glass separately from the mixed recycling stream to be sure it is recycled to its highest potential. Residents are encouraged to learn more about recycling right by visiting the website of the regional governmental authority on waste reduction and recycling, hrra.org.
If you or other residents have questions or concerns about recycling, they can e-mail HRRA at email@example.com.
Jennifer A. Heaton-Jones
Executive Director, Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority
162 Whisconier Road, Brookfield September 11, 2019
Editor’s Note: The letter writer also addressed this to Newtown Public Works Director Fred Hurley and First Selectman Dan Rosenthal.