November 6, 2023
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mayor Benjamin D. Florsheim, 860-638-4801
Co-Collection Save As You Throw Program
A Sustainable Solution With A Positive Environmental Impact
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Let’s talk about reducing waste. Mayor Ben Florsheim and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes met at Middletown’s Highway Garage on Friday to announce the City’s next step in reducing waste and controlling escalating trash costs.
Starting in November 2022, the City of Middletown’s Sanitation District conducted a pilot program in which residents who use curbside trash carts were asked to separate food scraps from trash and place both in their carts for co-collection.
Beginning November 1, 2023, this program is moving to the next phase. From now on, Sanitation District residents will see their annual fees reduced and are required to use City-issued trash bags. In the “Save as You Throw” system, customers pay only for the waste they generate, just as they pay only for the electricity or water they use.
The “Save as You Throw” program is recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the single most effective way to reduce waste, mitigate long-term costs, and provide equity for residents. The program is generously funded by a DEEP Sustainable Materials Management grant to Middletown and 13 other Connecticut municipalities.
The “Save as You Throw” program has given savings to most property owners in the Sanitation District on their waste management bill. The new discount applies to those who use wheeled carts for waste and recycling, and their average fee went down from $400 to $280 per year. Actual waste-disposal costs are now covered by the purchase of City-issued bags that customers are required to buy: orange for trash and green for food scraps.
Here’s how it works:
- Residents put the orange and green bags in their regular wheeled trash cart each week at the curb.
- The City picks up the trash and delivers the green bags to QuantumBio Power in nearby Southington, an anaerobic digestion facility that converts food scraps and other organic material into green energy.
- The orange bags go to an in-state or out-of-state disposal facility.
- Residents enjoy a lower sanitation bill and only pay for the waste they produce.
The state currently ships about 1/3 of its waste out of state to Pennsylvania and Ohio, and according to DEEP, landfill capacity in the Northeast will decrease by nearly 100% in the next 20 years. Over 550 cities and towns in the Northeast already use a Save as You Throw program, and each of these communities produces on average 54% less waste per person than communities with traditional billing.
Orange waste bags will be available at grocery stores in three sizes: 33-gallon bags will cost $1.65 each, 15-gallon bags will cost $1.00 each, and 8-gallon bags will cost 65 cents each. Green food scrap bags are less expensive and come in two sizes: 8-gallon bags cost 25 cents and 4-gallon bags cost 15 cents each. Residents who compost their food scraps or use the City’s free drop-offs should not use the Save as You Throw green bags.
Many stores are currently selling the bags. These include:
- Price Chopper, Guest Services Desk, 855 Washington Street
- Reboot Eco, 131 River Road
- Corner Stop, 221 Newfield Street
- Stop & Go, 294 So. Main Street
- Smith & Bishel, 155 Main Street
- Walgreens, 311 E. Main Street
The average home will use only 1-2 orange bags a week, which means that with the discounted fees most residents will pay less for waste.
Mayor Florsheim said, “The Save as You Throw program provides a way to reduce trash, lessen the burden on Connecticut’s disposal infrastructure, and reduce the tonnage of waste sent to communities in other states. At the same time, it gives Middletown residents control over their costs. Neighbors in the District have commented that they see some carts overflowing with waste, yet everyone has been paying the same fee per cart—until now. This system incentivizes people to reduce, reuse, and recycle more, saving money each month. This program is the most equitable way to manage waste costs.”
Commissioner Dykes added, “I applaud the City of Middletown for its pioneering work in the area of sustainable materials management,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “With its new Save As You Throw program, Middletown is putting cost control in residents’ hands, and providing a mechanism to divert valuable food scraps that can be utilized for positive re-uses including energy, nutrient-rich animal feed, and compost. I applaud the City for its leadership in this area, and for providing an example that other municipalities can look to when considering sustainable waste management options for their communities.”
Teams of volunteers and workers paid through a follow-up grant from DEEP have been reaching out to residents and businesses, going door-to-door to provide information on the program and tips on how to handle food scraps.
The City encourages landlords to pass the savings on to their tenants, either by discounting rent by about $10 per month for each 96-gallon trash cart, or by providing tenants a reasonable number of bags for their use. For residents who feel they are experiencing financial hardship due to this program, please contact the Public Works Department at (860) 638-4850 for information on options to reduce out-of-pocket costs.
For more information on the program, please visit https://reducethetrashct.com/middletown/.