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Sustainable Materials Management Grant awarded by DEEP to Newtown

The first round of grant awards for the Sustainable Materials Management Grant program have been announced by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The program supports the development of food scrap collection and unit-based pricing pilot programs, the type of waste diversion efforts recommended by the Connecticut Coalition for Sustainable Materials Management-- a coalition of over 100 municipalities across the state working on ways to reduce waste and increase reuse and recycling.

15 municipalities and 3 regional groups have been notified of the Department’s intent to award funds for their pilots.  Grants have been approved for Newtown, Seymour, and Woodbury among other towns. Regional support will be provided by the Housatonic Resources Regional Authority.  

HRRA Executive Director Jennifer Heaton-Jones says on behalf of Bethel, Kent and Newtown, they can now create and implement waste reduction programs that are truly impactful. She says they promote Unit Based Pricing and Food Waste diversion that can offset disposal tonnage and cost.  She added that the goal is to empower residents to change their disposal habits through the experience of cost savings using Unit Based Pricing and Food Waste Recycling.

According to Connecticut’s most recent waste characterization study, 41% of what residents throw away is organic material—such as food scraps, and yard waste—that can be composted, converted to energy through anaerobic digestion or processed into animal feed. Food scraps alone represent 22% of residential trash. Food scraps are one of the heavier materials regularly thrown away at the residential level and removing them from the waste stream reduces the costs of disposal as municipalities pay by weight.