In 2019, newly inaugurated Governor Ned Lamont signed Executive Order 1, which rebranded the existing Lead By Example program to GreenerGov CT a Lead By Example initiative, and among other environmental priorities, set the bold goal of reducing waste disposal across executive branch agencies by 25 percent by 2030.
Two years later, the governor’s Executive Order 21-3 strengthened those targets by requiring executive branch agency facilities to implement an organics and food waste diversion program wherever possible. Of course, with the increase of telework during and after the pandemic, the state's waste decreased as work became virtual, eliminating most printing, much paper usage, and printer ink. However, there is still more that state agencies can do to reduce their overall waste in a hybrid office environment.
In line with the governor’s goals, DAS has implemented an organics and food waste program at its two largest state office buildings, 450 Columbus Boulevard and 165 Capital Avenue, to divert all organic waste to compost bins, which are located on all floors in each break room. DAS has contracted with Blue Earth Compost to collect compost weekly. Since implementation, DAS has composted over 30,000 pounds of waste, mitigating CO2 emissions equivalent to 6,491 pounds of CO2, 333 gallons of gasoline burned, and 7,308 miles driven by the average car.
Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has implemented a pilot food waste diversion at their Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH) campus, working with Center for EcoTechnology (CET) and Blue Earth. CET assisted throughout the year to help CVH prepare for storing and collecting food scraps and Blue Earth to collect the scraps for processing at an anaerobic digestion facility. CET’s website has an excellent write-up on that work.
For more tips and helpful guidelines, there are several resources on the GreenerGov website for state agencies on ways to improve their waste management and recycling efforts. Some examples include starting a “Green Team” for your building, comprised of any staff that work in the building to brainstorm ways to make their facility more sustainable by implementing ways to reduce their waste and carbon footprint. Another idea is to have designated areas in your building for a “resupply center” where all excess office materials can be accessed and re-used to reduce the cost and carbon footprint of purchasing new materials.
State agencies also have the opportunity to take it a step further and conduct a waste audit, through the Technical Assistance Statewide Materials Management contract, 22PSX0016. This contract is for the provision of services or goods to reduce the amount of waste generated within the state; improve the efficiency of solid waste and recycling operations; enhance and/or expand existing Client Agency programs; generate significant cost savings; and provide reasonably priced equipment for indoor, curbside and outdoor recycling, trash retrieval, composting and water conservation, all in a manner consistent with the State’s Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy.
DAS understands and takes seriously the importance of reducing the impact of waste at our facilities and will continue to work towards our goals set in our statutes, executive orders, and beyond. Happy America Recycles Day!