Sunday, December 6, 2009

Next Meeting - Monday, December 7th


Our NEXT MEETING: Monday, December 7th – 7pm.

Location = ArtSpace! 50 Orange Street (corner of Orange & Crown), New Haven

Proposed agenda:
- Hear from George, Aaron and others who attended hearings
- Household Hazardous Waste collection day – hear from George, Aaron and others who volunteered
- Webpage – next steps for creating educational materials and putting them on web
- New curbside program – update on proposed timeline
- New Project proposed: Composting – bin distribution and/or educational workshop(s)
- Other

I hope you can attend the next meeting.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Could Zero Waste work in New Haven?

Zero waste is such an interesting concept, and yet when you utter the words 'zero waste' folks immediately find a reason why it won't work, why it's unfair, how hard it would be and near impossible to implement.

The problem I see, is that folks don't truly understand what the movement or suggested methodology of 'zero waste' is... it's like sustainability, transition, resiliance and other efforts we're encouragin our homes, businesses and communities to examine. It's a process and its something you are constantly moving towards.

Zero waste is nothing different. It's something we move towards, seeking to achieve a system that is more efficient leading to the production of less waste.

I've seen a couple of seminars on zero waste and one image really helped me understand what zero waste is about. Imagine an iceburg. We can see this incredible mound of ice and snow above the water's edge. But what's underneath?

This is the same with zero waste. We see the waste that is generated, but we don't really see the system that has created this waste and often feel we don't have control of 'what's under the water'.

Think about New Haven. We have a LOT of trash that is generated in our community. The City is saddled with the frustration, reality and expense of having to manage this trash - the strategies developed include recycling, yard waste collection, and a curbside collection program. We also have programs to manage our household hazardous waste, our electronic waste and our bulky waste.

While we, the residents of a community have the burden of developing programs to better collect these items in an environmental manner without going bankrupt, it's the businesses and manufacturers of these prodcuts that create the waste.

The idea of 'zero waste' is to look at the whole system - including those that create the products that create the waste. We need the manufacturers to take responsibility of all the materials generated from creating products and services including those that produce toxic and hazardous materials, materials that are not recyclable, and those developed to have only a short-life-span. The producers of these products make money, while the communities (and those of that pay taxes in those communities) pay for the problems those products create.

Looking at zero waste, examines issues like these. It begins to change this frame of the world. The specific example above leads to 'producer-responsibility' or 'product stewardship' programs - projects and programs where the producer of projects need to include the costs of proper disposal into the product.

Other zero waste strategies include:

Pay-as-you-throw, SMART or unit-based pricing systems for municipal recycling programs (pay for the amount you generate)

Environmentally preferred products (products without excess packaging or come in recyclable materials, reduced or no toxics in the manufacturering or use)

Strengthening the reuse/bartering system (libraries, thrift shops, reuse centers, municipal swap shops)

So is New Haven going FAR enough with their proposed curbside program? Hopefully it's just the beginning!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Does New Haven Have A Recycling Center?

A friend asked me this question the other day - she's in an apartment building that is more than 6-units - so the City does not pick up their recyclabes curbside.

The answer: Yes, it does.

In addition to offering free recycling pick up for residents (residential units with less than 7 units/apartments) through its curbside program, New Haven has a Recycling Center.

New Haven residents and businesses can self haul recyclables to the Recycling Drop-off Center Monday through Saturdays - 9am - 12noon. They close if there is a storm (snow, tornado, etc.).

The Recycling Center is located at the City's Transfer Station at 260 Middletown Avenue. Check out the City's Recycling website for more info.

What can you recycle at the Recycling Center? The same materials acceptable in the curbside program - mixed paper (newsprint, magazines, and junk mail), cardboard, and mixed bottles and cans (plastic, glass and metal food containers, laundry jugs, milk cartons, orange juice jugs etc).

Check out the City's Recycling flyer on what is and is not currently acceptable in their recycling program.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

NEXT Master Recyclers Meeting - 8/31

Our next New Haven Master Recyclers meeting will be Monday, August 31, at 7pm.

As usual, ArtSpace is graciously giving us there space to meet. ArtSpace is at the corner of Orange and Crown.

New folks are always welcome. We're working on a flyer, website pages and a presentation to provide to Team Management meetings and other community events.

If you're intersted in helping spread the word - please join us!

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED to help with New Haven's E-Waste Collection

Hello Recycling Enthusiasts!

By now you’ve hopefully heard that New Haven is coordinating a one-day collection for electronic waste (more info below).

The event is THIS Saturday, August 22, 2009, 9am – 4pm.

VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED (please pass onto others you think might be interested)

They’re hoping for volunteers to give 4 hours (8am to 12noon or 1pm to 5pm) but think they would take folks who could do a minimum of 2 hours.

Can you help? They need help with greeting folks as they come in, conducting a short survey, traffic control etc.

If you’re willing to volunteer, please contact Howard Weissberg at 203-946-7700 or 203-946-8092.

If you can give some time it’s appreciated. And sorry it’s such short notice.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Electronic Waste Collection Event

The City of New Haven is organizing an e-waste collection event that will be held at the new Goodwill Industries, Inc. store on Foxon Blvd (Route 80). It's across the street from Walgreen's if you haven't been there yet.

E-Waste Collection, Sat., Aug 22, 9am - 4pm
Goodwill Industries, Foxon Blvd, New Haven

Open to New Haven residents only!

They will be collecting:
Hard drives
Computer mice
DVD players
Stereo equipment (no speakers)
Cell phones


Pre-registration is requested to participate in this event, but walk-ins will be accepted.

To pre-register call 203.946.7700 or 203-946-8092 and leave your NAME, ADDRESS and the ITEMS YOU WILL BRING.

The City says they will schedule more events in the future. So if you miss this one, hang on to that TV for the next one!

Learn more about the problems associated with Electronic waste if we don't recycle it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Haven's **NEW** Recycling Program

The New Haven Master Recyclers came into being because we saw a need. The City of New Haven is changing their residential curbside recycling program - and with budget cuts and staff layoffs - there's no one thinking about education and promotion.

So we've formed a volunteer group to help spread the word!

There are a lot of changes coming.

First, recycling will be easier! New Haven is switching how they collect recycling at the curb. Currently we have what is called 'dual stream' collection. We have two streams of recycling 1. mixed paper and 2. mixed bottles and cans (metal, plastic and glass). The new method is 'single stream' collection. We'll be able to put all our paper (newspaper, magazines, junk mail, and cereal boxes), and mixed bottles and cans (metal, plastic and glass) AND our cardboard together.

All Together Now!

How will it fit in that little bitty blue box? We won't have to. That big blue cart we currently use for trash will become our recycling cart! That's right, we'll have enough room for all our recycling - including the cardboard. We won't have to worry about our cardboard getting wet (which is happening a lot these days) or empty plastic bottles blowing out of the bin and down the street!

What about our trash? We'll get another cart, a smaller one, for our trash. We won't need such a big cart for trash anymore because recycling will be easier. And there are a lot of reasons why we should try and recycle more.

All Together Now!

So why is New Haven changing their program? Apparently New Haven has one of the worst recycling rates in the state! Yup. We only recover about 8% of our waste in New Haven. I think the State's recovery rate is currently around 30% and by 2024 Connecticut's goal is to recover 58% of our municipal solid waste. We have very far to go!

And disposal costs are rising.

Our taxes currently pay for solid waste management; including staff to pick up and haul our materials, the trucks and all the maintenance, the truck's fuel, and the tipping fee (about $80 per ton of trash). We also pay someone to pick up and haul our recyclables - but the big difference is there is no tip fee for recycling. That's right, for every ton of recyclabes we collect, we save the City $76.50. And did I mention we get paid for some of our recyclables? Yup. The City in some cases gets paid up to $28/ton for recyclables.

So why are we throwing away our money; our tax dollars?

Well, I'm not. In addition to saving resources by recycling, I can help my community save money. Money I'd like to see spent on our libraries, our schools and our parks!

Okay, so is saving our City money not enough?

New Haven is also partnering with a company called RecycleBank. RecycleBank provides incentive programs for communities seeking to increase recycling recovery rates. For every pound of materials we recycle in our household (house or apartment) we will generate points. The points will add up and we'll be able to redeem them for gift cards or certificate or other products from partnering businesses. I'm not sure who will be partnering with Recycle Bank in our area, but in other areas the partners are Target, Dick's Sporting Goods, CVS, RiteAid, Stonyfield Farms... you get the picture. We'll get free stuff if we recycle more.

So get ready, we should be seeing changes in late fall!