Recycling's New Math:
Technology + Education = Success;
Formula Earns CQIA Innovation Prize
Supporting Single-Stream with Public Awareness
20-% Increase While
State's Overall Recycling Rate Remains Flat
The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority leadership in recycling has been reaffirmed with a CQIA Innovation Prize.
At the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnership’s 25th Annual Conference, CRRA was honored for its unique combination of single-stream recycling technology and public education that led to an increase of nearly 20 percent in the recycling rates of the 64 cities and towns served by CRRA’s Mid-Connecticut Project (with a total population of about 1.2 million) between fiscal years 2007 and 2011. Fiscal 2012 does not end until June 30, but through May 31 those towns had increased their recycling rate (the ratio of recyclables to trash delivered from those towns to CRRA) for the sixth straight year.
Recycling in CRRA's Mid-Connecticut Project towns took off after CRRA expanded its recycling program and increased its public-awareness efforts.
Not only did this combination dramatically increase recycling in participating towns (see chart at left)—at a time when the statewide recycling rate was stagnating—it has also saved participating towns $824,864 in trash-disposal fees.
|The Connecticut Quality Improvement Award is America's first state-level award using the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality and Innovation Award Criteria for Performance Excellence in an effort to advance innovative programs that improve quality performance and marketplace competitiveness. The award is named for a former Connecticut CEO who led the U.S. Commerce Department during President Ronald Reagan's administration and served as CRRA’s first chairman, from CRRA’s creation in 1973 until 1975.
The CQIA award presented to CRRA.
“At CRRA, we are always looking ahead, so we wanted to make sure our education and public awareness efforts have evolved along with the evolution of our recycling technology,” said CRRA President Thomas D. Kirk. “We’re proud that our efforts have been recognized with this award, and especially delighted the award bears the name of someone so important in our history.”
Recycling is one of the essential services CRRA provides to 74 cities and towns. CRRA has provided this service at no cost to encourage maximum recycling since introducing recycling in 1991.
But in recent years CRRA has taken significant steps that have caused a sea change in both citizen participation rates and tons recycled:
• In 2008, after a successful $3.5 million retrofit of its Hartford facility with state- of-the-art equipment and implementation planning with municipal leaders
and privatehaulers, CRRA introduced to Connecticut single-stream recycling, the
next generation of recycling.
• In 2009, CRRA supported the introduction of single-stream recycling with a public
awareness campaign that featured radio advertisements, printed materials, pages of information on CRRA’s website and press interviews.
• In 2010, CRRA began accepting plastics #3 through #7 rom Mid-Connecticut
Project cities and towns.
• Its award-winning education programs attracted more than 218,000 participants in fiscal years 2008 through 2011.
• In July 2011, CRRA brought single-stream recycling to 10 southwestern
Connecticut towns, and through May 31 their recycling tonnages had jumped 23
These recycling figures do not include electronics (recycled through CRRA, manufacturers or retailers) and do not include other forms of recycling, such as deposit container redemption, composting of grass clippings, yard waste and food, and recycling of other commodities including scrap metal, waste oil and lead-acid batteries. After taking all these other materials into consideration, the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection estimates that Connecticut recycles about 30 percent of its solid waste.
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 board of directors and management team develop and implement environmentally sound solutions and best practices for solid waste disposal and recycling management on behalf of municipalities. CRRA serves 94 Connecticut cities and towns. CRRA also runs award-winning sustainability education programs through the CRRA Trash Museum in Hartford. Computer users can also discuss CRRA at its blog.
For the past 25 years, the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award (CQIA) has been the State’s annual quality awards, recognizing Connecticut manufacturing and service companies that excel in managing quality improvement for business success and growth. Beginning in 1995, health care, education, government and other not-for-profit organizations became eligible to apply along with manufacturing and service companies.
Paul Nonnenmacher, Director of Public Affairs