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Chapter Chair Update

April 2021

Susan Eastwood

Greetings! Happy Earth Day! I hope this month’s Quinnehtukqut finds you well and on your way to being fully vaccinated! I know we are all looking forward to Spring and to being outside again!


In recent months, Sierra Club Connecticut has been participating in the new CT Zero Waste Coalition, working towards public education and improved policy to address Connecticut’s waste crisis. We believe that reducing our waste to as close to zero as possible is the best way to solve the burgeoning amounts of trash we produce. The imminent loss of the MIRA trash incinerator, that burns the trash of one third of Connecticut towns, is an opportunity to promote more sustainable practices in waste management.


I have been so thrilled with the interest in and turnouts for our three lunchtime webinars on zero waste issues. In December, our first webinar introduced background on zero waste, Connecticut’s waste stream and fast approaching waste crisis. The second addressed two major issues which are currently before the Connecticut General Assembly— the revision of the bottle bill and a bill addressing toxic PFAS chemicals in packaging materials, which add so much bulk as well as contamination to our waste stream.  On March 1, our third webinar focused on organic waste. Our speakers shared  informative solutions on large scale food waste management, including composting and anaerobic digestion, which we hope to promote in the legislature.


In addition to being approximately one third of Connecticut’s waste stream, food waste may be a larger contributor to climate change than you realize. According to Project Drawdown, food waste is a major source of greenhouse gases and, when zero waste solutions are combined with a plant-based diet and some agricultural management practices, the reductions in greenhouse gases are equal to the results of decarbonizing the electricity sector!


When individuals ask what they can do to help fight climate change, one of the top things is to stop wasting food, and switch to a plant based diet. Some of us can compost food scraps and later use that nutritious additive to improve garden soils. But others cannot. Large-scale food waste collection and management is in its infancy in Connecticut. Here is a real opportunity for us to address two huge crises, waste, and climate change! Connecticut should pass strong policy to support food waste collection and composting.


Learn more about zero waste solutions in one of this month’s articles, “Cleaning up Connecticut’s Waste” by Amy Harrell.


Do you have Earth Day plans? The Greater Hartford Sierra Club Group has put together a full week of incredible speakers on a range of environmental topics. Check out our events—I’m sure there is something to interest everyone! 


Think about how you can be a part of the solution as you enjoy your spring garden and outdoor adventures! See you next month!

Susan Eastwood is Chapter Chair of Sierra Club Connecticut.

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