RE: “If Recycling Isn’t Real, What Can Individuals Do to Combat the Climate Crisis?”

Climate change is a big issue with lots of moving parts. The business and municipal recycling programs we’ve built over the last 35 years are part of the solution to solve this vexing worldwide issue. This Op-Ed’s headline is a total disservice to recycling in Connecticut and the contributions it has made in the on-going climate change fight we are embroiled in.

Recyclables collected in Connecticut are recycled and are not disposed and there is no evidence, even from DEEP’s own data, to suggest otherwise.

Connecticut recycles 35% of its waste stream, according to DEEP’s own 2016 Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy.

That means 1.25 million tons of source-separated business and residential recyclables are processed through the state’s recycling system annually. More can be and will be done to improve the amount we recycle and the quality of the product. Since Connecticut is a proven national recycling leader, we know these numbers will improve as we move forward into the future. Despite what many may be led to believe, the State of Connecticut, year after year, is considered one of the 10 best recyclers in the nation by Waste360 (the leading information, event, commerce, and education provider to the solid waste, recycling, organics, and sustainable communities). Connecticut has achieved this goal due to the commitment of the General Assembly and the private waste industry.

In the meantime we encourage all Connecticut businesses and municipalities to stay the course with their recycling programs. We encourage all educational efforts to get businesses and municipalities to improve their programs by growing participation and reducing contamination. Improper items put in the recycling bin cause contamination of proper recyclables. This contamination does not help in the marketing of the collected and processed recyclables; or in improving the sustainability of the circular economy recycling loop.

Connecticut’s waste and recycling industry is a large part of the state’s economy and employs nearly 5,500 people. The annual economic impact is $1.9 billion. When the activity of the waste and recycling industry and their involvement with other industries is calculated, the waste and recycling industry’s overall impact to Connecticut’s economy is $ 3.7 billion annually.

Steve Changaris is the Connecticut Chapter Director of the National Waste & Recycling Association.

DISCLAIMER: The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of