Solid Waste and Recycling

Connecticut has adopted a Materials Management goal of diverting at least 10% of solid waste materials from trash by 2024 using a baseline year of 2014. There is a current bill in the state legislature that targets no more than 700 pounds of waste per capita by 2022 and 500 pounds by 2024.

In Fairfield, nine private haulers currently bring waste and recycling to the Town’s transfer station. Most waste is sent to the Wheelabrator facility in Bridgeport that produces energy through incineration, but also contributes to air pollution. Electronics, textiles, tires, scrap metals, appliances and other items can be recycled (some for a small fee). Yard waste is composted at WeDenali.

Achievements to Date

  • The Town has reduced its total tonnage of solid waste, anticipated to be 33,000 tons in fiscal year 2020. This is expected to stay relatively flat in FY 2021
  • In 2019, the Sustainable Fairfield Task Force hosted five composting seminars and conducted an outreach program to reduce food waste. Through a grant, over 50 residents received composters at a reduced price. SFTF plans a similar program for 2020
  • In 2019, two mattress pick-up days were offered to Town residents for a nominal fee. Seventy mattresses and box springs were picked up and sent to a recycling facility where over 85% of the mattress components were recycled. The program will be continued in the future.
  • The Town has created an FAQ page on what and how to recycle over 350 common items, and actively promoted mattress, paint, electronic and textile recycling, and tips for holiday recycling
  • The Town holds an annual Hazardous Waste Day to dispose of hazardous items.

Challenges Ahead

  • Despite the Town’s reduction in waste tonnage, this still represents an estimated 1,100 pounds of waste per capita per year
  • China, once the major purchaser of American recycled materials, is no longer accepting many types of US-sourced materials.  As a result, recycling in Fairfield now exceeds the cost of processing municipal solid waste
  • Many Fairfield residents and businesses are not aware of what can and cannot be recycled, leading to contamination of recycled materials. This is reflective of a national problem in recycling

Benefits of Recycling

  • Refusing, Reducing, Reusing, Repairing, Re-gifting, Recovering, and Recycling means less new materials need to be created, which conserves water and other natural materials
  • Reducing solid waste, which means less waste is incinerated
  • Improving air quality – less incineration means less pollution
  • Protecting our natural environment
  • Reducing the cost to the Town of solid waste management
  • In 2019, Fairfield residents diverted over 4,000 tons of waste through recycling
The “7 Rs” logo was Designed by Shtiggy.wordpress.com for a report by the GAIA Foundation and modified by SFTF

2030 Plan Goals*

  • Reduce the amount of solid waste collected at the transfer station to 700 pounds per capita by 2022 and 500 pounds by 2024
  • Reduce recycled material contamination through education and outreach
  • Increase the types of items able to be recycled at the Transfer Station to include items such as mattresses and food waste
  • Promote options for “swap shop“ type programs for gently-used furniture
  • Pilot “Zero Waste” schools in 2020/2021 and roll out successful programs to all Fairfield schools
  • Create a green business endorsement to encourage local business to recycle and increase energy efficiency
  • Continue programs and add others to reduce food waste
  • Become a Zero Waste Town by implementing a Zero Waste program in all Town schools and buildings and encourage residents and businesses to become Zero Waste participants

*Some goals are ambitious, and may need more time to achieve target participation rates; others can be achieved sooner, but work on all goals should begin as soon as possible

How Do We Reach Our Goals?

  • Work with residents, businesses and schools to promote and implement recycling and waste reduction:
    • Clarify what gets recycled and what doesn’t
    • Promote composting programs at schools, businesses, and homes
    • Purchase products that use less packaging
    • Reuse durable items instead of single-use items   
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Town of Fairfield Solid Waste & Recycling
CT DEEP Solid Waste & Recycling
Town of Fairfield Recycling FAQs
Zero Waste Home
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