Hartford Is Burning Its Recycling, And It’s Costing The City $30K A Month

MIRA’s downtown Hartford facility on the banks of the Connecticut River. (Ryan Caron King/Connecticut Public)

That recycling you put out each week in the blue bin may not be going where you think it is.

Because of contamination in curbside bins, the city of Hartford is now redirecting most of its recycling to a nearby incinerator, which means tons and tons of recyclable materials are going to waste while the city spends about $30,000 a month trying to deal with the problem.

Over the last two years, the amount of material sent for recycling in Hartford has dropped by about 75%.

Michael Looney, director of Hartford’s Department of Public Works, said the culprit is contaminated recycling bins, which are loaded up with trash and ruin any chance of a recycler accepting the material.

“The only other place for it to go if it can’t go through the recycling facility is, obviously, to the incinerator,” Looney said. “A significant portion of recyclables are now going to the incinerator.”

Recycling rates in Hartford began a major drop last fall. Loads were getting rejected for contamination, and Looney said that peeled DPW employees off other projects like road repair because workers needed to reload trucks with rejected recycling and ship it elsewhere.

Read the rest of the story at Connecticut Public Radio’s website.