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Letter: Efforts Like Food Scrap Collection Are Critical

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To the Editor,

We want to congratulate the West Hartford Public Works Department on receiving a Sustainable Material Management Grant to do a pilot food scrap collection program in West Hartford. The need to keep food waste out of the refuse stream is critical for our community and our planet. With the closing of the MIRA plant (which for years fouled the air in the adjacent Hartford neighborhood with the burning of garbage contributed by surrounding towns, including West Hartford), we need to do everything we can to reduce waste that is now being transferred to other states. It is unfortunate that alternative means of reducing trash were not instituted before or to coincide with the closing of MIRA.

Three years ago we volunteered to participate in the first “pilot” food scrap collection program in West Hartford. We were very disappointed that nothing happened at the end of this program, and now it seems like the town is starting all over again. Hopefully this time around we will end up with a permanent and effective system for redirecting food scraps to composting.

After our participation in the pilot program, we signed up with Blue Earth to collect our weekly food scraps. They have been remarkably dependable and efficient, and we have no problem filling up our bin and putting it outside every week for collection. With the lid on, there is no odor emanating from the collection bin, and we have markedly reduced the amount of garbage that we put in our trash bin.  It is unfortunate that so few of our neighbors are doing the same. It is clear that Blue Earth does weigh the food scraps that they pick up but if it is too difficult for the town to do the same, we believe that a good indicator of success will be the obvious reduction in the amount of unrecyclable refuse that is collected. We are a two-person household and we only put one paper shopping bag of garbage in the green bin per week.

It is long past time that West Hartford, now designated a “Climate Leader” by Sustainable CT, acted on our community’s need to redirect food scraps out of the waste stream. We surely hope that this grant will be put to good use educating our residents, and that West Hartford will find a way to make food scrap collection and composting permanent and mandatory on a town-wide basis.

Jane Roth
Edward Pawlak
West Hartford

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