When you think of recycling, do you picture a blue bin filled with glass, paper, plastic bottles and aluminum cans? If so, you are not alone. Single Stream recycling certainly has made recycling easier, as we no longer have to sort and separate items. However, the process is not perfect and it’s important to check with our Recycling Guide as to what is permitted or use the recycling wizard from recyclect.com.
What about items that can’t go into Single Stream recycling, including organic material? Is the only option to throw out? Planet New Canaan has worked to provide additional recycling opportunities and continues to work to find new recycling opportunities. Here are some additional recycling opportunities:
Natural wine corks can’t go into your blue bin but they can be recycled. Collect your corks and drop them off at New Canaan Nature Center’s lobby to be recycled. Planet New Canaan will pick up the corks and ship some off to ReCork to be recycled into shoe insoles, roofing panels, safety helmet liners, dartboards, cores for baseballs and more. We also keep some corks for area teachers for art projects. Find out more about this program here.
Planet New Canaan has teamed up with Walter Stewart’s Wine & Spirits to collect PakTech Can Carriers, used by many brands of craft beer. These can-carriers have a #2 plastic symbol, but due to shape and size, are not accepted in Single Stream recycling. Drop these can carriers off in a bin at Walter Stewart’s Wine & Liquors. Planet New Canaan will deliver what’s collected to a PakTech drop off location where the can carriers will be recycled into composite lumber, flower pots, pipe, park benches and more.
Food Scrap Recycling at the Transfer Station
Food waste takes up at least 20% of the municipal waste stream (MWS), according to the EPA. However, this material can be transformed into beneficial compost which is an important soil amendment for gardeners and farmers. Planet New Canaan fundraised for the pilot year of the Food Scrap program. A crowd-sourced contribution plus a matching grant from Sustainable CT, and a significant donation from New Canaan Moms made it all happen. The result to date is an average of 1,200 pounds of food waste diverted from the MWS each week. Planet New Canaan continues to work to educate residents about our Food Scraps program..
Whole pumpkins could be cut up and put in the food scrap bins but considering the volume of pumpkins residents are looking to dispose of after Thanksgiving, it can be a little much. Planet New Canaan teamed up with New Canaan Farmers’ Market and New Canaan Nature Center as drop off locations for residents to bring their whole, uncarved and unpainted pumpkins. Mountain Falls Farms in Sheffield, MA also partnered with Planet New Canaan, taking in thousands of pumpkins to be fed to their Belted Galloway cows, as well as facilitating drop off at neighboring farms. Stamford Museum and Nature Center accepted from Planet New Canaan two truck loads of pumpkins this year for their barn animals as well. All these pumpkins were able to be reused for livestock feed and provided the animals with a delicious treat.
When we learned that most of our Christmas Trees are shipped to landfill in Pennsylvania and Ohio, we wanted to do something. When these trees are buried in landfills, they don’t decompose properly due to lack of oxygen. The result is anaerobic breakdown and the emission of methane gas. Planet New Canaan works with New Canaan Department of Public Work and New Canaan Recreation Department to collect Christmas Trees at Waveny Pool Parking lot in the beginning January. Trees are mulched by New Canaan Department of Public Works and taken to New Canaan Nature Center, to be put on trails or used as mulch.
New Canaan Swap Shop
Some items don’t even need to be recycled, they just need the chance to be reused. Our next project is working with the New Canaan Department of Public Works to create a “Swap Shop” at the New Canaan Transfer Station. Residents with a Transfer Station pass will be able to drop off items like prints, picture frames, books, small appliances, small furniture, knick knacks and more. Planet New Canaan will work to staff the “Swap Shop” with volunteers as well as help fundraise. We hope the Swap Shop will be up and running by Earth Day 2022.