At the September 5th Middletown Common Council meeting, members voted unanimously for the nation’s first co-collection program with unit based pricing. The program is expected to reduce residential trash disposal tonnage by 55%.  The vote was the culmination of a 9-month pilot program sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).  Twelve other cities are currently engaged in the pilot, but Middletown was the first to make it permanent and add the unit-based pricing called Save-as-you-throw element.  “It’s revolutionary but so simple” said Benjamin Florsheim, the Mayor of Middletown. “With no additional trucks, no additional carts and no additional carbon footprint, we will be able to recycle the city’s food scraps and convert them to clean energy at the local anaerobic digester.”

The concept is simple:  food waste that was already in the trash bin will now be disposed of in a green co-collection bag.  The green bags will be placed in the curbside collection cart along with the Save-as-you-throw orange bags.  Those bags will then be taken to a sorting line where they will be separated with the trash going to a standard disposal location and the green bags will be going to an anaerobic digestion facility.  The cost to sort is so low that reduction in trash tonnage offsets it, making this process much more economical than having a separate collection route for food waste.  By adding the unit-based pricing element, participation is turbocharged. Sanitation District residents will receive a reduction in their bill and the cost of disposing their trash will be incorporated into the price of the bags.   That way, the less they throw out, the more they save.

CT DEEP congratulates the City of Middletown on unanimously voting to implement a permanent food scrap co-collection program, building on the promising results demonstrated by its pilot program under the Sustainable Materials Management Grant Program,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “I applaud Mayor Florsheim and the Middletown Common Council for their long-standing leadership in the area of food scrap diversion, and their enthusiasm in exploring and investing in common-sense solutions to Connecticut’s solid waste disposal crisis and providing Sanitation District residents with a reduced bill and an opportunity to realize savings based on the amount of waste they dispose of.”

“I’m proud of the residents of Middletown for their participation in the pilot and their willingness to take a leadership role on this important issue,” Mayor Florsheim said.

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