CAN I RECYCLE IT?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Everyone! The first law mandating recycling went into effect in Connecticut on January 1, 1991. Since then, a number of other regulations and laws have gone into effect increasing the particular types of products or categories that are designated to be recycled including bottles, cans, cardboard and newspapers. Connecticut recycling laws apply to every business, household, institution and government agency in Connecticut. Click here to learn more.

Although some towns provide trash and recycling service to small multi-family residences (buildings with 2-4 units), most apartment buildings, condo associations and businesses must contract directly with a trash hauler to provide trash and recycling service. The law requires "source separation". This means that you must separate the recyclables from the trash where they are generated. Your hauler cannot separate them later if they have been mixed with trash. In addition, your hauler is required by law to offer you both trash and recycling services.

The plastic container code identifies the seven (7) thermoplastic resins by a number and an abbreviation. The code does not denote recyclability; it merely identifies each resin by its chemical composition. The plastic industry designed the code, hoping that all plastics would ultimately be recycled. 

Contact your local recycling coordinator at the town hall or local Department of Public Works. Many towns also have websites that can provide you with this information. If you live in an apartment building or condominium complex, you will need to contact your trash/recycling hauler or provide your own container.

All municipalities have local ordinances requiring recycling of the mandatory recyclables. Local communities have the power to enforce these local ordinances about recycling, litter and illegal dumping. Sample Recycling Enforcement Letters can be found by clicking here.

In Connecticut we dispose of about 4 pounds of trash per resident, per day, and recycle the rest. That means that each of us is sending about ¾ ton of trash to be burned or buried each year. 

Unless your hauler has a split truck (most do not) your trash and recyclables should be picked up separately. If you see someone mixing trash and recyclables, call your town hall and ask to speak to your local recycling coordinator, or call the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection at (860) 424-3366 and file a complaint.

Residential mixed recycling collected curbside or at transfer stations are brought to one of five material recovery facilities in Connecticut. The MRF employs people and technology to separate out aluminum, tin/steel, paper, plastic and glass containers. These materials are processed and baled or boxed and sold to manufacturers looking for those raw materials to make new products.

Recyclables must be collected and then processed and shipped to companies that can use them as raw materials to make new products. Each step of the process has an associated cost. Revenues for recycled materials, which fluctuate like the price of any other raw material, do not always cover the processing costs.

Get involved in Connecticut Recycles Day by coordinating an event in your town. Connecticut Recycles Day takes place every year on November 15. For more information visit the Connecticut Recycles Day website.

Most of Connecticut's residentially-generated trash is sent to one of four Connecticut resource recovery facilities. These plants burn the trash as a fuel to generate electricity. The resulting ash is buried in specially designed lined landfills. These plants have modern pollution controls to reduce air emissions produced from the combustion process.

Residential mixed recycling collected curbside or at transfer stations are brought to one of five material recovery facilities in Connecticut. The MRF employs people and technology to separate out aluminum, tin/steel, paper, plastic and glass containers. These materials are processed and baled or boxed and sold to manufacturers looking for those raw materials to make new products.