The Lamont administration’s ambitious plan to overhaul Connecticut’s waste-disposal and recycling system is being scaled back by legislators in the face of opposition from the industry and some municipalities. The Democratic co-chairs of the Environment Committee, Rep. Joe Gresko of Stratford and Sen. Rick Lopes of New Britain, said the new, narrower focus of House Bill 6664 will be on removing food products from the waste stream and mandating recycled content in packaging.
“The vibe for this bill is it’s on life support,” Gresko said. A disposal fee of $5 on every ton of municipal solid waste shipped to out of state landfills is gone from the bill, and implementation of “extended producer responsibility,” or EPR, for recycling would be made provisional on its broader acceptance by other states.
“We’re probably going to move some version of the bill out of committee with the understanding that there is a short distance to go to get some things agreed on — and a really long distance to go to get it all agreed on,” Lopes said. Connecticut already has facilities that can use food waste, which tends to be heavy and can greatly add to disposal tipping fees, to generate natural gas or, in the case of a processing plant Gov. Ned Lamont toured, make animal feed. The challenge is to build a system to collect and deliver the food waste.