Recycling for the Hospitality Industry

If you own or manage a lodging facility or restaurant in Connecticut, recycling is state law! All retail and commercial establishments, including restaurants and inns must have a recycling program in place.

The items required to be recycled in accordance with Section 22a-208v and Section 22a-256a of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 22a-241b of the Regulations of the Connecticut State Agencies include:  

  • Glass and metal food and beverage containers
  • Old newspaper
  • White office paper (residences exempt)
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Scrap metal
  • Waste oil
  • Lead acid storage batteries
  • Ni-Cd rechargeable batteries
  • Leaves (must be composted)

Grass is banned from disposal at landfills and resource recovery facilities (incinerators). Grass clippings should be left on the lawn, or if necessary, composted.

In addition to the mandated items, many municipalities have ordinances which require additional items to be recycled, such as plastic containers with a number chasing arrows symbol with number 1 in the center and chasing arrows symbol with a number 2 in the center, old magazines, discarded mail, and mini-juice cartons. To find out about those additional items, contact your local municipal recycling contact or refer to your local solid waste and recycling ordinance.

Be sure your kitchen staff recycles. This includes cardboard (non-waxed only), number 10 size food cans and all other metal and glass food and beverage containers (including plastic water bottles and other non-bottle bill beverage containers). Your guests and maintenance staff should be able to recycle newspapers, cardboard and white office paper. Offer recycling opportunities in common areas both inside and outside your facility, especially for bottles and cans. Always put a garbage can next to a recycling container.

Training your staff is an important component of a successful recycling program. Summer employees come and go and often are not properly trained or even know that recycling is a mandatory requirement. Include recycling as part of employee training and a topic at staff meetings. Let staff know what you hope to accomplish by recycling.

Why Recycle?

You will be protecting your health as well as the environment if you recycle. Recycling:

  • Avoids disposal costs.
  • Reduces the amount of waste that must be disposed – which means less waste to
    incinerate or landfill.
    Prevents or reduces air and water pollution.
  • Conserves precious natural resources – since less raw materials need to be extracted and processed.
  • Saves energy and makes us more sustainable because we are borrowing less materials and energy from our children’s future.

Other Waste Prevention Strategies

  1. One of the keys to the continued success of recycling is the development of markets for recycled materials. The purchase of products that include recycled materials – recycled content paper towels for example – further stimulates the demand for recycled materials and thus supports the expansion and enhanced effectiveness of recycling programs throughout the commercial and institutional sectors.
  2. Incorporating source reduction objectives into procurement policy guidelines can decrease the amount of waste generated, encourage manufacturers to develop and sell products that create less waste, and often save money. For instance you can purchase reusable items instead of single-use items, such as flatware, mugs, dishes, trays, coffee filters, salt and pepper shakers and bulk containers for sugar, mustard, and ketchup (to avoid individually wrapped servings).
  3. Buy items in bulk, such as cleaning products, food products, and office supplies.
  4. Use soda fountain dispensers, milk in steel containers, and water coolers to decrease use of disposable beverage containers, and purchase other beverages.
  5. Investigate local options for composting organics and rendering fats and grease.

State law requires that your hauler:

  • Provide a warning notice to customers suspected of violating separation requirements.
  • Assist the municipality in identifying persons responsible for creating solid waste loads containing significant amounts of recyclables detected by the receiving resource recovery or solid waste facility.
  • May not knowingly mix other solid waste with items designated for recycling.
  • May have their garbage loads rejected at a solid waste facility if the load contains a significant amount of recyclables. This costs your hauler time and money. These costs may be passed on to you, the customer.

Call DEEP at (860) 424-3130 if:

  • You witness your hauler mixing recyclables and garbage in the same truck, especially if the truck is not a recycling truck.
  • Your hauler informs you that recycling is not necessary or they will recycle a mixed load elsewhere.
  • You require technical assistance or further information about starting or improving a recycling program, or composting food waste.

Interested in becoming a "green" restaurant?

Americans spend over half their food budget dining at over 850,000 restaurants.  This means that in order to operate, restaurants consume energy and water, buy a lot of products, and create a lot of waste, both organic and non-organic.  Restaurant's can make significant contributions to environmental sustainability by reducing their ecological footprint.  If you are interested in learning more about this topic, consult "Restaurants and the Environment: Achieving Ecological Sustainability - A Guidebook to the Major Environmental Problems and Solutions for the Restaurant Industry" available through the Green Restaurant Association at

And remember – if you are not buying recycled – you are not really recycling!


Content Last Updated February 2020