Americans all across the country have taken steps to lessen their impact on the environment through practices such as recycling, and for a time, communities were rewarded for their recycling efforts—until the world’s largest importer of recycled goods declared that those items were too contaminated, and thus, detrimental to the health and wellbeing of their own citizens.
Now, instead of receiving a credit for recycling, communities across the state are paying to have their recycled items removed. In central Connecticut, fourteen communities have banded together as the collective known as the Bristol Resource Recovery Facility Operating Committee housed at Covanta Bristol, and through BRRFOC, have signed a contract with Murphy Road Recycling, LLC.
Bristol, Plainville, and Southington have been joined by Berlin, Branford, Burlington, Hartland, New Britain, Plymouth, Prospect, Seymour, Warren, Washington, and Wolcott to form this collective.
Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, mayor of the City of Bristol, explained that China was responsible for taking about 45% of the world’s recycling. At the time, BRRFOC communities were credited about $9 per ton of recycling that was picked up by Murphy Road. Murphy Road would then sell the recycled materials, such as plastic, white paper, and cardboard, to countries such as China.
After signing the most recent Murphy Road contract, explained Plainville town manager, Robert E. Lee, each town must now pay $80 per ton of recycling that is removed. But, that number could fluctuate as the recycling market vacillates. For example, recycled glass currently sells for approximately $25 per ton, where aluminum could sell for around $20 per ton, and corrugated cardboard could see for about $32.50 per ton.
During their budget process, Plainville anticipated paying about $40 per ton, or, approximately $65,000 per year to have recycling removed. Lee said the town is probably looking at a $130,000 per year cost.
The BRRFOC contract with Murphy Road will be in effect for two years, as Lee said there is a chance that the recycling market could shift. But there is also talks that in an effort to reduce costs, some companies are looking to build recycling plants in America.
In an effort to educate residents about alternatives to recycling, and best recycling practices, Plainville has begun working with an individual to create a town-wide marketing campaign. In Bristol, the Department of Public works has been hosting workshops for the public to learn about techniques such as composting, to reduce overall waste tonnage.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@PlainvilleObserver.com.