Those Yogurt Cups (and Margarine Tubs and Ketchup Bottles) Will Soon Be Recyclable in 64 Cities and Towns
CRRA to Begin Accepting All Plastic Food, Beverage Containers on May 1 from Mid-Connecticut Project Recycling Towns
HARTFORD, Conn. – For years, people have been asking when they’d be able to put their yogurt cups, margarine tubs, ketchup bottles and other containers made from No. 3 through No. 7 plastics into their recycling bins.
For more than 1.1 million people in 64 cities and towns, here’s the answer: May Day.
Starting Saturday, May 1, residents of the towns whose recyclables go to the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority’s Mid-Connecticut Project will be able to recycle all plastic food and beverage containers, not just those made from No. 1 and No. 2 plastics.
Two recent developments made this expansion of CRRA’s recycling program possible:
- CRRA and the operator of its Mid-Connecticut Project recycling facility, FCR, Inc., identified buyers willing to commit to long-term agreements to purchase these new plastics.
- CRRA invested $65,000 in the new equipment needed to sort and manage the new materials. Installation of the equipment was completed earlier this month.
Recycling depends on the ability to sell recycled materials to processors who manufacture them into new products. Those revenues enable CRRA to operate the recycling program without charging towns a disposal fee for their recyclables. Last November, the CRRA Board of Directors approved the purchase of the new equipment based on projections that showed the money would be recouped through the sale of the additional plastics.
“For years, people have wanted us to take all their plastic containers, not just the ones and twos,” said Thomas D. Kirk, CRRA president. “We’re excited to grant their wishes.”
A list of the additional items the Mid-Connecticut Project will now accept reads almost like a household grocery shopping list: ketchup bottles, plastic ice cream containers, yogurt cups, margarine tubs and lids, cream cheese tubs and lids, lunchbox-size pudding and gelatin cups, sour cream tubs – just about anything that contained food or beverages and is made of plastic.
There will still be some notable unacceptable items:
- foam plastics, such as Styrofoam and polystyrene foam;
- plastic film, including food wrap, sandwich bags, dry-cleaning bags, trash bags and shopping bags;
- any jug or bottle that held motor oil, paint, anti-freeze, fertilizers, insecticides; and
- plant and seedling pots and trays.
A complete guide to recycling is on CRRA’s Web site, Residents of Mid-Connecticut Project recycling towns will find a link to recycling information specifically for them at http://www.crra.org/pages/proj_midconn.htm.
The upgrade marks CRRA’s fourth major expansion of its Mid-Connecticut Project recycling program since 2005. The others:
- 2005 – Junk mail, magazines, catalogs, computer paper and other types of mixed paper are added to the recycling menu.
- 2007 – Oversized glass, metal and plastic containers, boxboard or chipboard (such as cereal boxes, shoe boxes and shirt cardboard) and aerosol cans are added to the recycling menu when its new recycling processing center opens.
- 2008 – CRRA introduces single-stream recycling to Connecticut with the retrofit of the Hartford recycling processing center.
Expansion of the plastics menu is just one of CRRA’s efforts to increase recycling.
- Since CRRA launched its residential electronics recycling collections 1999, almost 6 million pounds of old, broken and unwanted televisions, VCRs, computers, cell phones and other devices have been kept out of the waste stream.
- In 2008 and 2009, CRRA rebated to Mid-Connecticut Project towns a total of more than $1.2 million for recyclables delivered to the Project.
- Since 2007, CRRA has run an advertising/public awareness campaign focused on radio and on-line media.
- CRRA’s education centers, the Trash Museum in Hartford and the Garbage Museum in Stratford, continue to reach more and more people each year, topping 56,000 in 2009.
As a result, the Mid-Connecticut Project’s recycling rate has steadily increased since 2007.
The state Solid Waste Management Plan, which CRRA is charged with implementing, calls for increasing the state’s recycling rate from its current level of about 30 percent to 58 percent by the year 2024. The state’s recycling rate includes items not managed by CRRA, such as deposit container redemption, composting of grass clippings, yard waste and food, and recycling of other commodities including scrap metal, waste oil, lead-acid batteries.
The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority is a quasi-public agency whose mission is to work for – and in – the best interests of the municipalities of the state of Connecticut. CRRA’s new board of directors and new management team develop and implement environmentally sound solutions and best practices for solid waste disposal and recycling management on behalf of municipalities. CRRA serves more than 100 Connecticut cities and towns. CRRA also runs sustainability education programs through the Trash Museum in Hartford and Garbage Museum in Stratford. Computer users can also discuss CRRA at its blog.
Paul Nonnenmacher, Director of Public Affairs