West Hartford has entered the preliminary stages of development for a new recycling center and the closure of a historic landfill as a proactive step to addressing central Connecticut’s changing waste landscape, officials said. The construction of the 16,900-square-foot Material Solution Center will include updates to the 10.9-acre property located at 25 Brixton St. in West Hartford, which houses the current Yard Waste and Recycling Center and a landfill that ceased operations in the 1970s.
West Hartford Director of Public Works John Phillips said that the town decided to update its waste and recycling facilities to prepare for changes in Connecticut’s waste management markets driven by the slated closure of the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority’s trash-to-energy plant in Hartford. The MIRA plant serves 48 towns. In 2020, after Gov. Ned Lamont rejected a $330 million proposal to refurbish the plant, MIRA board members voted to shut down facility operations by June 30, 2022, though a delay is expected. Now municipalities across Connecticut are searching for other options, such as hauling waste out of state, to dispose of their trash.
State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes has said spending $300 million on an antiquated plant would not have solved the state’s trash crisis. “MIRA closing absolutely changes the central Connecticut waste landscape,” Phillips said. “As the public works director, I’m trying to be proactive and not reactive … with how West Hartford manages its waste going forward.”