Seymour Pilots Innovative Trash Reduction Program with 1,100 Households
The Town of Seymour launches its Trash Reduction Pilot on February 13th for approximately 1,100 households, which involves diverting food scraps from the waste stream and limiting the number of trash bags used each week. The goal of this program is to help the state of Connecticut address the waste crisis while saving taxpayer money on disposal costs. The Town received funding through a Sustainable Materials Management grant from the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
Residents on the Monday trash pickup route are asked to separate their waste, placing food scraps in green bags and regular trash in orange bags. Each participating household will receive a 9-month supply of color-coded bags, allowing for two 15-gallon orange trash bags per week and one 8-gallon green food bag. Families are encouraged to adjust their habits to reduce the amount of trash they produce, such as increasing recycling, donating textiles, and purchasing reusable products instead of disposable ones. Orange and green bags will go in the same bin for curbside pickup. The hauler will bring the bags to a sortation facility where the green bags will be picked out and sent to an anaerobic digestor to create clean energy.
Town of Seymour First Selectwoman Annmarie Drugonis encourages residents to take advantage of the free bags. “This program represents a great opportunity for Seymour to address the garbage crisis and control costs,” she states. “If we all do our part, we can reduce our waste, save money and help the environment.”
The goal of the program is to pilot this new waste management system for a single trash collection route and use the resulting data to determine if it would make sense on a town-wide scale. There is the potential for the Town to save tens of thousands of dollars annually if the program is implemented permanently. Sending food waste to a digestor is less expensive than paying for disposal, and reducing waste through behavioral changes will result in lower hauling costs. In a permanent version of the program that may be considered after the pilot, the fee residents pay to dispose of trash would be transferred out of property taxes and into a per-bag charge. This would give residents control over how much they pay for waste disposal by reducing their trash, similar to an electricity bill.
A Community Champions Dinner will be held on Monday, February 27th at 6 p.m. at the Seymour Community Center. Pilot participants, as well as interested stakeholder groups such as gardening clubs, sustainability teams, or students are welcome to join. Details about the program will be shared and there will be an opportunity for people to ask questions and give feedback. Pizza will be served. Those interested in attending should RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residents are encouraged to visit the pilot program’s website at http://reducethetrashct.com/seymour/ to learn more. Anyone with questions can also contact Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments Regional Environmental Planner Christine O’Neill at 203-489-0351 or ReduceTheTrash@nvcogct.gov.