Reps. Bolinsky, Foncello Applaud Food Scraps Program Grants for Bethel, Newtown

Posted on May 10, 2023


Reps. Bolinsky, Foncello Applaud Food Scraps Program Grants for Bethel, Newtown

Hartford—State Representatives Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) and Martin Foncello (R-107) are applauding funding for Newtown and Bethel from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) program. Bethel, Middlebury, and Kent will be joining 15 other municipalities, including Newtown, awarded funds last year to implement pilot programs to collect residential food scraps and reduce trash and collect food scraps.

DEEP is awarding $577,000 in total grant funding. Bethel has been awarded $42,400 for a transfer station food scrap collection program. Newtown, which was awarded a grant last year for food scrap recycling, has been awarded a $244,300 grant to expand the program, along with infrastructure component of an aerated static pile composting process at the Transfer Station. Eventually the town will be able to process residential food scraps on site.

Bolinsky said, “I’m very grateful for the recognition DEEP has given to Newtown as an innovator in public works sustainability. Our town has been an early-adopter of passive energy-generation initiatives, rooftop solar on or adjacent to public buildings, wastewater treatment and now, the scale-up of solid waste reduction by way of the aerated static pile composting process at the Transfer Station.  A smaller, pilot program has shown positive results there, and this grant will allow an expansion of composting infrastructure to enable us to work toward becoming a regional composting hub for processing residential food waste on site.  It’s all part of a greater effort to reduce Connecticut’s overall solid waste problem.”

Foncello said, “Waste is a terrible thing to waste. This initiative pilot has worked well in Newtown, and I’m pleased that neighboring Bethel will also be participating in this innovative program. By helping to reduce the amount of trash, we can reduce reliance on out of-state-landfills or incinerators and taking these organic materials out of landfills. The infrastructure component in Newtown will eventually provide capacity for neighboring towns for food scrap processing, providing a more local option to take in those food scraps.”

In Newtown, most food scraps are currently taken to New England Compost in Danbury and made into compost. According to DEEP, food scraps are one of the heavier materials regularly thrown away at the residential level and removing them from the waste stream reduces the costs of disposal as municipalities pay by weight.

Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority Executive Director Jennifer Heaton-Jones says “The goal is to empower residents to change their disposal habits through the experience of cost savings using unit-based pricing and food waste recycling. We’re encouraging residents to rethink and change their waste behavior through cost savings and waste recycling.”