How can we address the waste crisis that Connecticut is facing? Local environmental groups, town commissions, eco-friendly businesses, and more gathered for the second annual “Rethink Waste” fair in Greenwich to try and provide some answers to that question. The event was organized by Wastefree Greenwich, which is a “grassroots organization that aims to engage, educate and empower the Greenwich community to waste less through prevention, recycling and diversion.”
More than 20 vendors gathered to showcase their efforts to reduce waste, provide sustainable products, support efforts to invest in the environment, and help residents take action.
State Representative Hector Arzeno, who represents Greenwich, said that “addressing the waste crisis” and reducing it is top of mind at the state level.
“Some of you may know that Connecticut, like the country and many other states, are suffering a waste crisis,” he said. “We had to close one of the two [trash] incinerators. And we are one of the states that ships most of the waste out of the state, with hundreds of millions of spending on that.”
He highlighted one of the bills that the legislature is working on this session that aims to separate out organic waste, like food, and divert that through ways, like composting to reduce the amount of waste that is disposed of.
For local businesses, like Eyerecycle, helping residents recycle and reduce their waste is their main goal. The organization is hosting numerous pickup events throughout the region over the next few months to allow residents to drop off and sort their recyclables—and earn a little bit of cash back—that are brought to the Waterbury Redemption Center where they are recycled and reused.
“We’ve grown to a mobile redemption center, where we take on places like Stamford, Greenwich, Fairfield—Fairfield County, and travel the state and give people an opportunity to recycle,” Mike Stallings, CEO of EyeRecycle said. “We have them come in, come to our truck, or a booth like this, drop off their things and get paid, and walk away.”
Stallings emphasized that every little bit helps.
“Our goal is to make recycling more convenient, because I feel like that’s one of the issues with recycling—folks feel like it’s not convenient, it takes too much time,” he said. “And the world’s a better place because we’re getting the plastic out of the waste stream.”
EyeRecycle is also on the agenda for Norwalk’s Public Works Committee of the Common Council this week to enter into an agreement that would allow the collection and recycling of glass bottles and cans via pop-ups in the city.
First Selectman Fred Camillo issued a proclamation at the event, recognizing the groups for their work and the need for more sustainability efforts.
“It shows your dedication to the environment, and to reducing and reusing lots of things, so thank you,” he said, before reading the resolution.
The resolution pronounced April as Earth Month in Greenwich and highlighted ways for residents to get involved in.
“I urge each resident to make everyday Earth Day through the six Rs—refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and rot. Make a commitment to preserve our natural resources and live in a sustainable way,” Camillo read.
The town also recognized some leaders in sustainability for their work in the community, including Isabelle Harper, who received a future leader award, for her work in helping the town adopt a climate change resolution last year.
Check out our video highlighting the ReThink Waste Fair.