The firm of “So Simple Recycling” is leasing a building from the City at 33 John St. in order to have operations to recycle the City’s soft recyclables including textiles such as clothing, blankets, towels and other similar items.
“This is the final agreement we needed with them to finalize the recycling,” said Mayor Erin Stewart. “We hope to launch the program some time in October. It is going to be a change to our trash recycling.”
The City of New Britain will receive compensation of one cent per pound of soft recyclables collected under this program, and will also benefit from reduced tip fees for waste disposal.
There will be free bags given to residents and residents can request additional bags. It will be a hot pink bag and it will go on the curb. Do not put the bag inside the bins.
“It’s another initiative that goes towards our smart trash program. It’s more efficient, environmentally friendly and has the ability to generate revenue for the City which is important,” said Mayor Stewart when the program was initially announced. “It will be a separate truck that goes around collecting textiles. It isn’t things you would donate to Goodwill or to Salvation Army. We are talking old towels and things you would end up throwing out.”
In the State of Connecticut residents dispose of 2.4 million tons of trash annually, an estimated 1,370 pounds of trash per person per year, and Connecticut is lagging behind other New England states by maintaining a recycling rate of only 26 percent. The State of Connecticut is in a waste crisis due to decreasing in-state waste disposal capacity, and tip fees that have increased rapidly over the past few year. Part of the solution for the waste crisis involves decreasing the amount of waste generated and increasing recycling rates. The State has a goal of achieving a 60 percent recycling rate by 2024.
“Nationwide the average person throws away 70 pounds of clothing a year. Imagine if that 70 pounds was translated into money that could come back to the City. It could go to pay for our public works department for paving roads,” said Stewart. “Materials are recorded at the facility and processed for raw materials. The program costs the City nothing.”
New Britain could be the first City in the State to have this soft textile recycling program.
Other cities include West Hartford, Bristol and more.
The firm will hire employees to sort through the textiles and there will also be a public advertising program to explain to residents on how to use it.
“It’s another way we are being innovative in how we are treating our trash. The cost of trash disposal will continue to rise,” said Stewart. “Residents have to be mindful to use their blue bins. Recycle as much as possible. The more we recycle the more the City saves.”