The Bethel Board of Selectmen has approved a Municipal Regional Solid Waste and Recycling System Agreement. Jen Heaton-Jones with Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority discussed the agreement between HRRA and the Town at a recent meeting. HRRA was formed for volume discounting for solid waste disposal. The contract with municipalities was created in 1986. It's set to expire June 30th 2019. HRRA has 11 member municipalities.
The state has put into action many laws about solid waste and recycling. The state has set a goal of 60-percent diversion of solid waste by 2024, but most towns are currently at 20 to 30 percent.
Heaton-Jones says it's nearly impossible to enforce unit-based pricing on private haulers, but it would be easier if there was municipal collection through tax base. She says Torrington is looking into a pay-as-you-throw program. Residents would get free recycling services, but have to purchase trash bags for $3.75 each. The idea is that people will recycle more if they think about what it costs to throw out garbage.
According to the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, similar waste reduction programs have been successfully implemented in about 7,000 communities nationwide. DEEP noted that the charge is like how residents pay for use for electricity, gas and other other utilities.