April 2020
Notice Governor Lamont is telling Connecticut residents to "Stay Safe, Stay Home." All non-essential workers statewide are being directed to work from home, effective Monday, March 23 at 8:00 p.m. For the latest information, resources, executive orders, and guidance related to coronavirus (COVID-19), visit ct.gov/coronavirus
E-newsletter highlighting grant deadlines, upcoming workshops and available resources for municipal recycling and solid waste leaders.
Trash and Recycling Are Essential Services in Connecticut

Governor Lamont has identified solid waste haulers and facilities, including Resources Recovery Facility (RRF) support functions (such as lime, urea and carbon deliveries, ash transport vehicles) as well as contractor and vendor functions which are integral to such operations, as critical services.
On March 20, 2020, Governor Ned Lamont issued Executive Order No. 7H (EO7H) which restricts nonessential business activity and specifically identifies “essential services including trash and recycling collection, hauling, and processing". 
DEEP has consulted with epidemiology and occupational experts at the CT Department of Public Health and OSHA for guidance. OSHA offers COVID-19 Control and Prevention guidance, which states:

“Generally, management of waste that is suspected or known to contain or be contaminated with COVID-19 does not require special precautions beyond those already used to protect workers from the hazards they encounter during their routine job tasks in solid waste and wastewater management. 

Workers and employers should manage municipal (e.g., household, business) solid waste with potential or known COVID-19 contamination like any other non-contaminated municipal waste. Please notify your residents to make sure all solid waste is contained within tightly sealed bags to help protect solid waste sector employees and the public.

Use typical engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as puncture-resistant gloves and face and eye protection, to prevent worker exposure to the waste streams (or types of wastes), including any contaminants in the materials, they manage. Such measures can help protect workers from sharps and other items that can cause injuries or exposures to infectious materials.” Keep trying to order and source what you can.
National Institutes of Health, launches new website

The website has important educational resources for workers working to reduce the sprea of COVID-19. The worker-based training initiative is being led by NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which has a long-established Worker Training Program (WTP). The program awards grants for training and development of educational resources for employees in high risk occupations who serve the public during emergencies and who need skills to protect their own health as they are potentially exposed to dangerous pathogens, contaminated materials, or infected people. As a part of this effort the Worker Training Program also acts as a clearinghouse among grant recipients to broadly share the training and educational resources developed with the grant money.

National Clearinghouse https://tools.niehs.nih.gov/wetp/
Connecticut Single Use Plastic Bag Fee Temporarily Suspended

DEEP, in partnership with DPH released a press release on Friday, March 27, 2020 suspending the plastic bag fee temporarily.

The Lamont Administration is responding to the concerns of our retail employees who are enabling continued operation of critical services, by taking steps to provide flexibility that are grounded in expert assessment of public health risk.

However, those concerned about reusable bags, should note the following:

-According to guidance from the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), given the most current scientific information available, reusable plastic bags will not serve as a significant source of infection for COVID-19. The primary route of spread of the virus is from per son-to-person contact and airborne droplets, but it is important to clean and disinfect all surfaces commonly touched by people.

-The Executive Order does not mandate the use of single-use bags. 

- The Executive Order does not prohibit customers from using reusable bags, but enables personal choice by allowing retail employees the opportunity to decline to bag them.  

- Connecticut state residents who use reusable bags are strongly encouraged to use bring-your-own and pack-your-own bags. 

- Most reusable bags can be easily cleaned between uses if residents desire, through laundering, hand washing, or wiping with a disinfecting wipe.
How to Clean Your Reusable Grocery Bags

Good housekeeping wrote up a great article on The Best Way to Clean Your Reusable Grocery Bags .

Deciding to use reusable bags instead of plastic grocery bags is a big plus for the environment. However, if you forget to clean them, they could become a major negative for your health. Stop and think: When was the last time you cleaned your reusable bags? They're pretty easy to clean, so there's no excuse. Here's how:

1. Canvas bags: These are, by far, the easiest to clean. Just toss them in the washing machine and launder in hot water with detergent. Then, run them through the dryer.

2. Recycled plastic bags: You should wash anything made from recycled plastic containers (a.k.a. polypropylene bags) by hand in warm soapy water and line dry it. Don't forget about the inner and outer seams, where crud can hide and collect.

3. Insulated shopping bags: Since you're probably transporting raw meat in these bags, wipe them with a disinfecting wipe after each use.

4. Nylon bags: Flip them inside out and wash them by hand in warm soapy water. If you prefer to machine wash them, use the gentlest cycle to prevent the bag from coming apart. Then, allow them to air dry.

Stinky bags? Prevent musty odors from developing by making sure bags are completely dry before using them. Also, you should never store reusable bags, especially unclean ones, in the back of your car or the trunk between uses. Excessive heat can cause bacteria to grow even faster.
Simple Recycling Suspends Textile Collections

Simple Recycling, effective March 23, 2020, has temporarily discontinued pickup service of textiles (pink bags) due to the Coronavirus.

Simple Recycling asks residents to continue to fill up their pink Simple Recycling bags and hold onto them until they resume operations. For more information, Simple Recycling requests you send a message through their Facebook page or their webpage .
Certification and Training For Solid Waste Facility Operators

All March and April previously scheduled classes have been cancelled due to COVID-19. Operators who are currently certified no longer need to re-attend the certification class for a renewal Certificate. For renewals, simply submit an application within 6 months of your expiration date on your Certificate. New operators who have never been certified must submit an application, attend one of the listed certification classes and pass either a written or verbal examination. 

For more information, refer to the Certification and Training for Solid Waste Facility Operators webpage.

SOME (not all) PaintCare Sites
Have Suspended Unused Paint Collections

Please Read This Correction of Previous PaintCare Announcement  

Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), some Connecticut paint retail stores and transfer stations who participate in the PaintCare program have temporarily suspended the collection and recycling of unused paint.

Please check PaintCare’s site locator to find locations in your area that are still operating and call the location prior to going to confirm.
PaintCare advises that households and businesses consider refraining from dropping off paint for recycling at PaintCare locations until all applicable local, state, and federal public health orders and guidance have been lifted.
PaintCare has also suspended its large volume pickup service (LVP), normally provided to those with 200 gallons or more of leftover paint. However, PaintCare continues to accept requests for LVPs at this time and will schedule them when the service resumes. Learn more at paintcare.org or reach out to Laura Honis, PaintCare’s Connecticut program manager.

Change in Municipal Transfer Station General Permit?

Municipalities do not need any approval from DEEP regarding the temporary suspension of unused paint collection at municipal transfer stations.
Report: EPR for Packaging & Paper Products: Policies, Practices, & Performance

This seminal report from the Product Stewardship Institute provides guidance for stabilizing and modernizing fragmented U.S. municipal recycling systems that have strained under the weight of major market disruptions. 

The report outlines problems faced by U.S. recycling programs and how extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs in four Canadian provinces have increased packaging recovery and recycling, reduced contamination, and developed markets for difficult-to-recycle materials. It also provides a detailed case study of the packaging EPR program in British Columbia (B.C.), North America’s first full producer responsibility program for packaging.
Government Recycling Demand Program Launched by NERC & APR

NERC & the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) have formally announced their new partnership to grow a groundbreaking campaign that expands market demand for recycled resins and improves plastic recycling in North America. The Government Recycling Demand Champions, a companion to APR’s well-established Recycling Demand Champions Campaign, will be tailored to state, regional and local governments around the United States. It will be hosted by NERC, working in close collaboration with APR.

“The recycling community has long been interested in supporting increased purchasing of products made with postconsumer resin (PCR) by government entities. NERC adopted a policy to encourage such actions early this year. The Government Recycling Demand Champions is an exciting opportunity to engage directly with government at all levels to support their interest and grow this important activity,” said Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director, and Government Recycling Demand Champion program manager.

Among the products with postconsumer recycled content (PCR) that government entities will be encouraged to purchase will be plastic:
  • Infrastructure drainage pipes
  • Trash bags
  • Roll-out carts
  • Recycling and garbage containers
  • Benches
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Plastic lumber, piers, decking
  • Other PCR containing plastic products

“This program has the potential to dramatically increase demand for recycled resin in a wide variety of products, including new applications such as recycled content in recycling carts, government procurement and infrastructure projects,” explained Stephanie Baker, Director of Procurement at KW Plastics. “By combining efforts with the states through a partnership with NERC, we hope to drive even greater demand in the government marketplace, and include the concept of utilizing recycled content as a key component of state procurement programs.”
Archived Municipal Recycling Coordinators E-News and Webinars

Missed the last newsletter on product stewardship or a recent webinar? Look for archived webinars and e-newsletters on the CT DEEP webpage.
What's IN? What's OUT?
Recent Questions from CT residents & Added to RecycleCT Wizard

Many municipalities are distributing press releases and postings about the challenges of increased disinfectant wipes, gloves and other materials being put in toilets clogging sewer lines and sometimes septic systems. While not soley focused on WIWO - this is a waste issue and the message could be increased from others in the state. In addition, many municipalities are also seeing an increased amount of wipe and glove litter.

Here's a great video from Mayor Keith Hedrick of Groton.

Be Aware of What You Flush
CT In the News
Opinion: Emma Young - Cut pollution (New Haven Register, March 17)

Earlier in March, shared last month
Food Scrap Recycling (The Greenwich Sentinel, March 10)
Fixes Sought to Boost Recycling (New Haven Independent, March 5)
ConnPIRG in support of state Styrofoam ban (The Daily Campus, March 5)
Spring Repair Café on April 19, Old Saybrook (Middletown Patch, March 2)
 Upcoming Events: 

April 2, 2020 - 2:30pm - Best Practices in Sustainable Procurement webinar. For more information . Hosted by SustainableCT.

April 16, 2020 - 10:00am - 11:30am - 2020 Spring Waste Wise Webinar: Back to Basics . For more information . Hosted by RecyclingWorks.

April 23, 2020 - 1:00pm - 2:00pm - Sustainable Materials Management Prioritization Tools: Sustainability Insights at a Glance webinar. For more information . Hosted by U.S. EPA.

POSTPONED: April 28-29, 2020  Community Based Social Marketing . Bridgeport. For more information . Hosted by the Long Island Sound Study.   
CANCELLED May 18 & 19, 2020  NRRA Recycling Conference & Expo . Manchester, New Hampshire. For more information . Hosted by the Northeast Resource Recovery Association.

May 21, 2020 - 1:00pm - 2:30pm - Food Waste Reduction & Food Waste Recovery webinar. For more information . Hosted by the Northeast Recycling Council.

June 18, 2020 - 1:30pm - 3:00pm - Should Municipalities Get Back in the MRF Game? webinar. For more information . Hosted by the Northeast Recycling Council. 

RESCHEDULED to October 20-21, 2020: April 21-22, 2020  NERC's Spring '20 Conference . Rocky Hill.  For more information . Hosted by the Northeast Recycling Council.
Have an idea or topic for future municipal recycling webinar? Let us know what you and your colleagues would like to learn more about. Contact Sherill Baldwin.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is an Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Employer that is committed to complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act. To request an accommodation contact us at (860) 418-5910 or deep.accommodations@ct.gov.
CT DEEP | Source Reduction & Recycling Group | 860-424-4193 | www.ct.gov/deep/recycle