After reviewing the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) goals for recycling, the Connecticut Chapter of the National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) has released its comments on the plan.

DEEP’s plan includes goals of improving the performance of municipal waste programs; developing new technologies for sorting recyclables; recovering energy and materials of value from the waste stream; supporting the state’s existing waste-to-energy disposal plants through improved renewable energy credit programs; and fostering an important dialogue about product design and end-of-product life sustainability and recycling. The private sector of the waste industry supports all of these goals but according to the NWRA, the estimated costs associated with these goals put the goals at risk.

“Our industry statewide is on the front lines of helping customers reduce the amount of waste they dispose through source reduction, recycling and other efforts; however, based on our real-world experience in the market, the annual savings will be substantially below the $25 million the DEEP is suggesting,” Mike Paine, NWRA Connecticut chapter chairman and CEO of Paine’s Inc. of East Granby, said in a statement. “DEEPs savings projections do not adequately factor in the cost of collecting, processing and managing the new amounts of recyclables and food scraps and other types of organic waste.”  

The NWRA has been educating its members on the cost of recycling, backing its opinion that knowing what can be recycled and knowing the true costs of recycling are two main factors for gaining public support of effective recycling programs.

“A key factor for Connecticut residents, municipal officials and business owners to consider when reviewing the DEEPs recently released waste reduction goals is to understand the true economics of the waste and recycling markets," Paine said. "It is a complex market. Any plan for waste reduction must take into account the different costs of various segments within the waste stream – for example, the cost of processing food scraps versus the economics of utilizing waste-to-energy facilities;  fees for the processing of waste that cannot be diverted; and, of course, the cost of recycling programs."