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What's In, What's Out: Connecticut Makes Recycling Easier

Find out What's IN and What's OUT at!
Find out What's IN and What's OUT at! Video Credit: Recycle CT

In an effort to make recycling easier, Connecticut has made the rules the same across the entire state — telling people "What’s IN, What’s OUT.”  

There’s no longer any need for guesswork about what goes into the blue recycling bin and what you should put in the garbage.

That’s because – for the first time ever – recycling rules have been standardized across the state – and there’s now an instant source of information about them.

For example:

  • Bottle caps – “IN” recycling bin if they are on the bottle, loose caps are “OUT” and should be put in the trash.
  • Pizza boxes – “IN” recycling bin if no food or liners.
  • Shredded paper – Keep “OUT” of the recycling bin and put in the trash. Dust created by shredded paper causes issues at recycling facilities
  • Plastic bags – Keep “OUT” of recycling bin and “OUT” of the trash. Plastic bags – and other “plastic wrap” items – should be taken back to one of the many retail locations that accept them. Sorted plastic bags and wraps are a valuable commodity as they can be used to make outdoor decking material. 

“We worked closely with recycling coordinators in our cities and towns and the six facilities in our state that accept recycled material to get everyone on the same page,” said Robert Klee, Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “With one set of rules in place everywhere, it’s now easier to provide people with the information they need to recycle more effectively.”

The public outreach effort to increase awareness of recycling rules is spearheaded by The RecycleCT Foundation.

The outreach is built around the theme of “What’s IN, What’s OUT.” Click here for the website with more information. 

The website offers:

  • A widget – that is mobile friendly — that provides a quick answer to questions about what can be recycled and what can’t.
  • Short videos to highlight recycling issues.
  • Material that cities and towns can download and print to share with their residents – including a brochure with a convenient list of items that can be recycled.

“Increased household recycling is a key component of our effort to achieve the state’s new goal of 60 percent diversion of materials from the waste stream by 2024,” said Klee, who also serves on the RecycleCT Foundation Council. “To achieve that goal we must encourage people to recycle better by placing the correct items in the recycling bin.”

“When unacceptable items are placed in the recycling bin, it causes problems at the recycling facilities and also reduces the value of recycling materials,” he said. “This diminishes the effectiveness of our recycling efforts because recycling is not just about collecting material – it is about making sure those materials are captured and made into new products.”

In addition to environmental benefits, recycling offers savings for taxpayers and businesses by reducing costs for waste disposal. Achieving the state’s 60 percent diversion rate would save an additional $40 million/year in avoided disposal fees.

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