2019 CEQ Annual Report

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Personal Impact

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Waste Diversion

Quick Summary - x check xClimate Change Indicator



In 2018, an estimated 1.7 million tons (44.2 percent) of solid waste was diverted from disposal. At the current rate, Connecticut will not achieve its goal of 60% “diversion” by 2024.

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 municipal solid waste (MSW) from disposal**. Diversion" includes reduction of materials before it makes it into the waste stream, reuse, recycling, composting, and waste conversion. Based on the trend over the last 10 years, Connecticut is not expected to achieve the  goal of 60 percent diversion by 2024 under existing conditions. 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. 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.

In 2018 (most recent data available), approximately 430,000 tons of bottles, cans and paper was recycled. Bottles, cans, and paper make up the majority but not all of the material recycled in 2018. 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. 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.

Technical Note: *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.