2018 CEQ Annual Report

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Personal Impact*

Driving and Riding               Compliance               Waste Diversion
Climate Changers               Electricity at Home & Work

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 Waste Diversion

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In 2017, an estimated 1.7 million tons (44.3 percent) of solid waste was diverted from disposal


What is the Source of the Goal

With  adoption of An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Recycling and Materials Management Strategy in 2014 (Public Act 14-94**), Connecticut set a challenging goal for itself to achieve by 2024: divert 60 percent of solid waste from disposal. "Diversion" includes reduction of materials before it makes it into the waste stream, reuse, recycling, composting, and waste conversion. According to DEEP's Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy, revised and adopted in 2016, one path to achieving the 60 percent diversion goal will be to boost recycling to 45 percent; however, this may be challenging without 1) additional public education on recycling, source reduction, and composting and 2) markets for the recyclable materials. 
In 2017, approximately 500,000 tons of bottles, cans, and paper was recycled. Bottles, cans, and paper make up the majority but not all of the material recycled in 2017.  The amount of bottles, cans, and paper recycled in 2017 was ten percent less than in 2016 and the lowest overall total reported since 2010. A 2015 study commissioned by DEEP found that about 16 percent of the material in Connecticut's garbage was readily recyclable but did not find its way into recycling bins. 

Recycling, as mentioned above, is not the only method for diverting waste from disposal. The Strategy also identifies tactics to divert an additional 15 percent to get Connecticut to its goal of 60 percent diversion. Yard and food waste can be composted or even converted to fuel, as can agricultural waste. Waste can be avoided altogether through more efficient packaging. Such tactics count toward the diversion rate.

Some types of waste can be handled through programs established by the industries that produce the products. Connecticut requires producers to establish opportunities for consumers to return electronic equipment, mattresses and unwanted paint for recycling, and sees potential for more product take-backs. The effectiveness of the existing programs was evaluated in 2016

Connecticut has been a leader on the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) or Product Stewardship programs for the collection and recycling of several materials, including used or unwanted electronics equipment, mattresses, and paint. 
In 2007, Connecticut became one of the first states in the country to pass a law requiring manufacturers of computers, monitors and televisions to finance the transportation and recycling of their products. In FY2018, over 15 million pounds of unwanted electronics were collected and recycled, which equates to a state rate of 4.27 lbs./capita.  

In 2013, Connecticut became the first state to pass extended producer responsibility legislation that requires mattress manufacturers to manage unwanted mattresses generated in Connecticut. In FY2018, over 4,700 tons of mattresses, which is more than 181,000 mattresses, were collected and recycled - diverting approximately 2,800 tons of material from disposal. 

In 2011, Connecticut established a Paint Stewardship Program to collect and recycle old paint. In FY 2018, the program processed 342,350 gallons of postconsumer paint, a 6 percent increase over FY2017. Latex paint made up 80 percent of total paint, of which 81 percent was made into recycled-content paint, and oil base paint made up the remaining 20 percent of the paint collected. In addition to paint, 200 tons of metal and plastic paint containers were recycled. 
*Personal Impact indicators illustrate trends in behavior or practices that can be expected to influence the condition of tomorrow’s air, water, land and wildlife.
**The goal adopted by Public Act 14-94 has been codified in Section 22a-241a of the Connecticut General Statutes. Estimated "Diversion" based on 2005 Baseline of 3.8 million tons.