Residents Invited to Participate in Money-Saving Town Program
To Separate Recyclable Glass for Use in Sustainable Cement Production
There’s no question that, for environmentally minded households, being able to toss all kinds of recyclables into the same bin for pick-up – so-called “single stream recycling” – has made recycling even easier. But the convenience has come with a catch – and Fairfield residents will now have an opportunity to help fix a problem.
More and more, glass mixed with other recyclables is itself becoming a contaminant. When it breaks in the recycling process, glass can damage recycling equipment, and the fragments can find their way into other recyclables like paper and cardboard, making those materials less valuable or even impossible to recycle – to say nothing of the hazards created for recycling workers.
And when it becomes too difficult or expensive to separate out glass, recyclers often simply send the entire stream to a landfill – where the glass will take an incredible 4,000 to 1 million years to decompose. Indeed, according to Recycle Across America, more than 28 billion glass bottles and jars end up in landfills every year — the equivalent of filling up two Empire State Buildings with glass every three weeks. In Fairfield’s case, tainted glass doesn’t go to landfills, but is lost nevertheless – it goes to a local incinerator. Still, glass can be recycled infinitely, without loss of quality or purity – so it’s vital to make the most of the resource.
Aiming to Reduce Recycling Costs and Contamination
Starting in January, the Town of Fairfield will test a new approach for handling glass recyclables. Under a pilot program designed by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Town residents will be able to voluntarily bring their glass recyclables separately to a collection point at the Town Transfer Station on Richard White Way.
From the collection point, the glass will be transported to Urban Mining in Beacon Falls, Conn., where it will be crushed and turned into a substance called pozzolan, an additive for high-end cement that helps reduce its carbon footprint by up to 40 percent.
First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick said, “I hope residents will take advantage of this opportunity which will help save the Town money in recycling costs – but also will help our efforts to be a more environmentally conscious community. I want to thank DPW, and all the volunteers on the Sustainable Task Force and Solid Waste & Recycling Commission for working to bring this new initiative forward.”
“We hope that a good number of Town residents will consider taking part in the program and help make the Town recycling effort even more cost efficient – while also helping to ensure that even more of our recyclable glass actually has a useful next life,” said Becky Bunnell, Sustainable Fairfield Task Force (SFTF) member. She has been working with Fairfield’s Solid Waste & Recycling Commission and Solid Waste & Recycling Department to initiate the program.