Zero Waste Initiatives
Break Free From Plastic Pollution Resolution
The City of Middletown Common Council voted on March 1, 2021 to support a resolution to support the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, which is proposed federal legislation aimed at reducing plastic pollution. The proposed federal legislation would:
- Ban certain single use plastic (foam) products that are not recyclable. Foam containers and cups are not recyclable, are associated with health concerns, and add to our waste problem.
- Put a national ban on single use, plastic carry out bags and place a fee on other carry out bags. The City has already implemented a local ordinance prohibiting single use plastic bags.
- The bill also includes a “straws upon request” which saves restaurants money, reduces litter, and reduces waste. During the pandemic I have noticed several restaurants switching to asking if customers need the utensils, straws, condiments, etc for to go orders. This is a great trend to see.
- Require producers of packaging, containers, and food service products to design, manage and finance waste collection and recycling programs for those items. These are called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs and they would significantly reduce municipal recycling expenses. In CT we currently have EPR programs for electronics, mattresses, paint and thermostats. These programs have saved CT towns millions of dollars in avoided disposal costs.
- Develop a national Bottle Bill program. CT does have a state program, although it is in need of modernization.
- Establish minimum recycled content requirement for beverage containers and food service products. This is very important. We often forget that recycling is not just putting items in a separate cart and having it go away. We need to increase recycled content requirements so those materials are valuable in the production process. If we don’t purchase recycled content products, recycling doesn’t work.
- Spur massive investment in US domestic recycling and composting infrastructure.
- Prohibit plastic waste from being shipped overseas to developing countries.
The resolution was initiated by the Middletown Resource Advisory Commission and Middletown Recycling Coordinator. A memo from the Recycling Coordinator is available here.
The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act is being considered by the 2021 session of Congress.