Redding is a perfect candidate for an organics recycling program, the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority said. An organics program would allow residents the chance to separate their organic waste for specific recycling and composting.
Such organic waste would include meat, bones, shellfish, fruits, vegetables, and even tissues and paper towels.
Residents who separate and contribute organic waste might be eligible to receive a load of compost at the end of the year, as well.
The Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority director, Jen Iannucci, said at Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting that based on her experiences in Bridgewater, Newtown and Ridgefield, “we know it’s a viable program.” In Bridgewater, 140 households use the program, and 230 in Newtown have joined the program in just the last month.
There are two ways to institute organics recycling. One requires residents to drop their organic waste off at the transfer station. The second includes pickup along with traditional trash.
For residents, Iannucci said, “it might be a way to save money” if they are charged for garbage by weight, “even if it isn’t just the right thing to do.”
Residents will be able to add a larger variety of organics to the proposed municipal organics program than they add to a home-based compost pile.
For instance, meats, bones, shellfish, and paper towels would all be allowed in the municipal program.
“These items are all OK because it is a commercial processing system. The process gets a lot hotter and a lot more controlled, so you are able to add in the bones, shellfish and meat you wouldn’t put in your back yard. You can even include tissues and paper towels in this program,” Iannucci said.
The town of Redding can apply for grants to fund this program, Iannucci said.
“The cost can be covered by a state grant up to $20,000. That amount doesn’t have to be just on compost. If you need to improve something like signage, or anything to reduce the waste stream and increase recycling, they’ll give you the money up to $20,000,” she said.
The Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority facilitates the program, but does not provide funding.
“The grant to supply the program can include carry containers, kitchen containers and it comes with a supply of bags for the program. This all comes in bulk, and later on residents can purchase them at a local store if they need to,” Iannucci said.
The general public is usually concerned about the “odor” associated with this system, but Iannucci says those worries are misguided.
“We already have it in our regular household trash. We’re just asking that you separate it and put it in another container. We’re already taking the waste in, though now it would actually be picked up more frequently. … [Organics] will be picked up on a more regular basis, and you’ll hold on to to your [non-organic] waste a little bit longer because it doesn’t have the food scraps in it.”
The Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority is also known as HRRA and is pronounced as “Hurrah.”
It is the regional municipal solid waste (MSW) and recycling management organization for the Housatonic Valley municipalities of Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, and Sherman.