‘The Bottom Fell Out’: New Canaan Sees Steep Increase in Cost of Recyclables Disposal

Saying a dramatic turn in the recyclables market is hitting the town, officials last week approved a $197,000 one-year contract with a Stamford company to haul and dispose of glass, plastic, paper and other materials discarded at the Transfer Station. The hauling of recyclables has “changed considerably in the last couple of years” due in part to a problem with glass that breaks in the single-stream system, so that where towns such as New Canaan “used to make a little bit of money,” they’re “now getting charged a lot of money to get rid of it,” according to Don Smith, assistant superintendent of solid waste with the Department of Public Works. “China is no longer taking it,” Smith told members of the Board of Selectmen at their Dec. 4 meeting, held at Town Hall. “They are just trying to find markets to get rid of it, and a lot of people don’t want it.”

The changing market is increasing New Canaan’s recycling costs by about five times, officials said.