We are in a waste crisis.
Landfills and incinerators are nearing the ends of their life cycles, and we are producing more waste than ever. Connecticut is running out of capacity to handle its waste. Disposal costs are rising as communities must ship waste out of state. NVCOG is finding and implementing cost-effective solutions with state and local partners, businesses, and residents.
You can learn more about the waste crisis by exploring our new, interactive Story Map.
Connecticut has convened more than 100 municipalities across the state to create the Connecticut Coalition for Sustainable Materials Management (CCSMM). The initiative explores pathways toward waste reduction through reuse, recycling, organics collection, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation, and more.
CCSMM’s working groups include EPR, Food Scraps/Organics Collection & Diversion, Increase Reuse & Recycling, and Unit-Based Pricing (UBP).
Participating NVCOG municipalities include Ansonia, Bethlehem, Bristol, Naugatuck, Oxford, Seymour, Thomaston, Waterbury, and Wolcott.
NVCOG is participating in the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection’s (CT DEEP) $5 million Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Grant Program. To address the waste crisis, 15 municipalities across the state–including Ansonia, Woodbury, and Seymour–are piloting SMM programs proven to reduce waste and save money.
The program’s unit-based pricing of trash puts residents in control of how much they pay for trash disposal and includes curbside food scrap collection. The food scraps will be sorted and turned into clean energy.
DEEP also awarded NVCOG an SMM grant for outreach and education. Follow along with our environmental team’s SMM work and the progress of these forward-thinking waste management pilot programs on our SMM Grant Project Page.
You can read more in this DEEP press release and on the official pilot program website Reduce the Trash CT.
Visit the NVCOG Composter Sale webpage for program updates!
Organic materials (think: food scraps, yard trimmings, and leaves) should be thought of as a resource, not waste. Composting them for use in your gardens and lawns helps to conserve water, grow healthier plants, reduce the use of fertilizer and pesticides, and protect the environment. Removing these materials from your regular trash also helps divert waste from landfills or incinerators, plus it allows your municipality to save money on trash disposal costs.
Rain barrels help you collect and use rainwater for outdoor use, which saves energy, conserves drinking water, and reduces stormwater runoff that could cause flooding issues.
Each spring, the NVCOG Composter & Rain Barrel Sale offers quality composters, rain barrels, and accessories at wholesale prices to residents of the Naugatuck Valley Region. We aim to raise public awareness of home composting as a way of reducing our waste footprint and improving our local environment.
Visit the NVCOG Household Hazardous Waste webpage for program updates!
3 times a year, NVCOG administers a 15-town Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection for residents of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethlehem, Derby, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Oxford, Prospect, Seymour, Southbury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott, and Woodbury.
HHW events give residents the opportunity to properly dispose of hazardous materials that are commonly used in the home, like paint, pesticides, household cleaners, and chemicals. The program keeps potentially hazardous waste out of local landfills and sewers. Doing so provides extra protection for wetlands, waterways, and our health.
Knowing what to recycle, compost, throw away, or dispose of at a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) event can be a challenge. NVCOG is committed to educating and supporting all residents in managing their waste! We are always available to give presentations, answer questions, or table at community events (especially around Earth Day).
Reach out to NVCOG Environmental Planners Katie Schlick or Christine O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or our Communications & Community Engagement Manager Desira Blanchard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the waste crisis progresses, we are exploring large-scale solutions that would help put residents and municipalities back in control of their waste disposal costs. Creating a Regional Waste Authority that centralizes the Naugatuck Valley region’s waste disposal would help streamline and lower costs, simplify services, and unite the region.
A Regional Waste Authority allows municipalities to share the burden of collecting and disposing of the region’s waste. It requires the siting of a regional composting facility (2 acres in size) and transfer station, as well as regional operating staff coordinators. The Authority would offer regional collection of trash, recycling, and food waste, possibly with unit-based pricing of trash. It would also coordinate public education and outreach efforts.
Centralizing these facilities helps reduce operational and staff expenses. It could also help fund regional projects that can further reduce waste and save money (like anaerobic digestor composting facilities and work on Extended Producer Responsibility legislation).
NVCOG is currently exploring ways to overcome the key challenges of creating a Regional Waste Authority, such as: tracking revenue from multiple towns’ purchases, overcoming differences in waste collection types, siting facilities, ensuring enforcement, and managing public feedback.
While a Regional Waste Authority would be new to the Naugatuck Valley area, the model has been successfully implemented in other places. Check out the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority as one example! You can also view a recent HRRA presentation to learn more about how the Regional Waste Authority model works.
Feel free to share with us your ideas and feedback on our “big idea” of creating a Regional Waste Authority.
NVCOG Resources for Reducing Your Waste
EPA’s Tips for Reducing Your Waste
Conduct a home or work waste audit so you can strategize to reduce your waste.
Confused about what to recycle? The RecycleCT Wizard can help! Go online at RecycleCT or download the RecycleCT App, where you can type in any item and learn whether it is recyclable in CT.
You can watch our composting workshop led by a UConn Master Composter on the NVCOG YouTube Channel.
A Beginner’s Guide to Composting
UConn: 104 Items You Can Compost
Kitchen to Garden Composting 101 Video – From RecycleCT
Household Hazardous Waste (HHW):
Click here for a list of acceptable and unacceptable items at HHW events.
For more information on how to properly dispose of common household items, check out our “How Do I Dispose of” brochure.
To find your town or city’s electronics recycling location, please visit DEEP’s Local Municipal Recycling Coordinators Webpage.
Reach out to Environmental Planner Christine O’Neill with your waste-related questions!