Dear Middletown Recyclers,

The City of Middletown is pleased to announce the Reuse Revolution is happening right here in Middletown! The City’s Public Works Department is working with Middletown Public Schools to replace single use items with reusable, less toxic foodware. This reduction will result in a cost savings for the schools and a reduction of trash coming from our schools!

As many of you know, the City’s Recycling Division has been working on several programs to reduce and divert regular trash to more sustainable alternatives. The City has initiated programs to divert food scraps from restaurants, encourage backyard composting and curbside collection of food scraps, reduce single use coffee cups and use reusable take out containers at restaurants. Our Middletown Public Schools have also created programs to reduce the use of single use bags, switch out single use trays to reusable ones and eliminate single use water bottles in the cafeterias. We have now joined forces to move to the next level.

The waste crisis is real. Waste disposal capacity in New England, and all through the US, is shrinking. The New England region is expected to lose 40% of its trash disposal capacity in the next 5 years— and up to 100% by 2040. Notably, the incinerator in Hartford closed last summer, leaving 35 neighboring communities without a disposal site. The alternative of trucking CT trash up to 600 miles out of state is not sustainable. In short, space is shrinking and costs are rising drastically. This will continue until we find and implement a new approach.

One key part of the solution is to generate less waste so we dispose of less overall. The City of Middletown is exited to partner with ReThink Disposable, an award-winning program of Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund, to transition current single-use cafeteria products to 100% less toxic, reusable foodware in all ten Middletown Public Schools. This transition will remove over 3 million pieces of single-use items from entering our waste stream or polluting our streets and waterways; the equivalent of 15.5 tons of trash every year!

The schools will see a significant reduction in annual costs that will allow the Food and Nutrition Services to invest that money in healthier, higher quality food. We are excited to transform our school meal operations so that kids are served on washable and reusable plates, cups, and utensils.

Middletown Public Schools has already made the investment of purchasing 10,000 reusable trays and reusable bags for breakfast meals. The next transition to reusables requires the purchasing of reusable foodware that will replace three types of food packaging: paper boats, plastic utensils and more disposable trays. We are partnering with Sustainable CT through their generous Community Matching Fund that will match dollar for dollar the donations we raise. This investment will help the schools reinvest the savings into other reusable products, and healthier food for our students.

Please help us move this project forward and donate to help Middletown Public Schools purchase reusable foodware and continue to teach children about the importance of sustainability. Learn more and make a generous donation today at

Kim O'Rourke
Middletown Recycling Coordinator

ReThink Disposable is funded in part by the Community Foundation of Middlesex County and the NOAA Marine Debris Program.
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