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May 26, 2020
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Published Aug. 21, 2019

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Back in March I wrote about recycling as we know it now [“Innovations in Recycling,” March 28], which once was a source of revenue to the town, but is now an expense. Recycling is the products that we put into recycling bins that are picked up at the curb. I also talked about other types of recycling: textile recycling and composting. Since then, I’ve gotten some very favorable feedback.

With the ban on single-use plastic bags in the works and the interest that kids in town have in other environmental initiatives, I think it’s time we moved forward and looked at how we, as a town, can reduce our solid waste. There are three specific ways we can increase recycling, reduce costs, and generate usable products.

Separating glass from other recyclables would immediately make them more recyclable, as glass breaks in transit and contaminates the plastic and paper. Treating glass as a separate stream would eliminate that. I’ve already started talking to some trash haulers about this.

Recycling textiles would take a large amount of materials out of our solid waste stream, as they represent six percent of all solid waste generated. Textiles have value when recycled, but 85 percent are discarded as trash. More than clothing and shoes, there are myriad other consumer products that can be recycled.

Starting a Source Separated Organics (SSO) Program, where waste food products are turned into other usable products through composting, takes more solid waste out of the stream and generates a usable product in compost, which can be used in gardens. Food waste includes things like napkins and pizza boxes.

We need to walk before we run, but I’m excited to start the conversation about ways we can clean up our recycling stream and eliminate a portion of our solid waste stream.

First Selectman Tom Banisch

Republican Tom Banisch is seeking re-election in November.