- A 2015 Connecticut waste characterization study reports that the state's food waste increased from about 321,500 tons in 2010 to about 520,000 tons in 2015, despite 2011 legislation pushing food waste diversion goals for commercial and industrial food waste generators—and despite multiple efforts to combat the problem. None of the state's five proposed anaerobic digesters have begun construction in five years, and Quantum Biopower's deadline to build a digester is up in June; the company applied for a permit in 2013, according to the Connecticut Mirror.
- Connecticut has had other small projects like curbside food waste programs, including a Bridgewater pick up service that just ended, with only 120 households participating. However, Newtown will soon launch a free drop off program and Ridgefield will offer a $3 per drop off service. Also, a multipronged food diversion program through Big Y, including composting, will expand from 10 stores to statewide.
- Meanwhile, Connecticut has turned to food waste diversion pioneer Massachusetts for guidance on date label laws, tax incentives for food donations, and other support. And Connecticut’s Center for Eco-Technology is working to help establish a food waste infrastructure like Massachusetts'.
Developing infrastructure to keep food out of landfills is expensive, but wasting hundreds of thousands of tons of edible food every year is, too. This is a big problem in Connecticut; other than the proposed digesters, there are only three open-air composting facilities in the whole state and in tucked-away spots, as food discards keeps piling.
The proposed Quantum facility could amp up efforts.
"It’s a huge arrow that points to here as an opportunity if we want to meet our 60% diversion goals," said Rob Klee, DEEP commissioner, to The Connecticut Mirror. "The management of organics is going to be a big piece of that." He is hopeful that a proposed law may extend the time Quantum has to get permit approval.
Unfortunately for now, progress is very slow as it is made through very small projects.
But Jen Iannucci, director of the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority, is encouraged even by baby steps. "I’m still excited about organics recycling. I think it’s just going to be one of those programs like recycling was in the ‘70s. It’s going to be slow and a little painful, but in the end we’re going to make it happen. We just need to change people’s habits," she said to The Connecticut Mirror.
"I think the only way it’s ever really going to happen at the residential level is you’ve got to pass legislation like you did for commercial. You’ve got to make it a mandatory recycle item just the way you do other items in the blue bin."