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Sierra Club Connecticut advocates for waste reduction methods that seek to eliminate negative environmental impacts of trash incineration which disproportionately burdens Connecticut's low-income and communities of color.  According to Connecticut DEEP, on average, each one of us produces over five pounds of solid waste each day. Only about one pound of that gets recycled, and the rest, about four pounds, gets disposed - burned or landfilled. The total for our state is about 4,000,000 tons of waste.

Trash burning is extremely toxic and disproportionately affects environmental justice communities in Connecticut. For every 100 tons of garbage burned in an incinerator, 70 tons become air pollution spewed into the host community. Connecticut's four incinerators are located in Bristol, Bridgeport, Preston and Lisbon. The remaining 30 tons becomes toxic ash that has to be landfilled, in Connecticut, that happens in Putnam.

We can significantly reduce waste and the environmental impacts by:

  • Removing organic waste from the waste stream. In Connecticut, food scraps and other organic waste make up 33% of our trash. Food scraps alone make up 22% of our waste, over 500,000 tons. Sierra Club advocates for laws to require organic waste diversion to composting or anaerobic digestion facilities.

  • Better recycling. Another 40 percent or more could be recycled if we put more effective recycling in place. 

  • Banning single use plastics.  Very little single-use plastic is actually recycled. 

  • Establishing a statewide Save-as-you-throw program. Around the region many communities have been successful in reducing waste by implementing programs where residents pay for the amount of trash they generated. This ensures fairness - those who make more waste pay more. In New Hampshire, a study of 34 towns with similar programs showed a 42-54% reduction in municipal waste.

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