Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5120

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING PRIVATE AND MUNICIPAL RECYCLING, ZONING ORDINANCES AND SOLID WASTE COLLECTION CONTRACTS.

Vote Date:

3/19/2010

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/1/2010

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

Rep. Linda Schofield, 16th District

Rep. Bryan Hurlburt, 53rd District

Rep. Andres Ayala, 128th District

Rep. Joseph J. Taborsak, 109th District

Rep. Theresa W. Conroy, 105th District

REASONS FOR BILL:

To expand municipal reports concerning recycling, expanding the current list of designated recyclable items, and prohibit zoning laws that also hold back and limit where recycling bins are placed, expanding the curbside pickup of recyclable products, requiring recycling gathering venues and making sure that there are solid waste collection contracts to provide recycling.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None Submitted

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Rep. Linda Schofield, 16th District supports this bill because it focuses on making recycling an easy thing to do as well as an inexpensive thing to do. The goal of this bill is to reduce Connecticut's solid waste and increase the recycling rates. She is encouraged that the bill makes a rational start by including a set of actions that pretty much everyone can support and right now in some towns, residents have to pay extra for recycling. She feels that the key components of this bill include, a reduction in the date reporting burden for those towns where trash removal is handled through subscription, rather than the town, the addition of plastics 1&2, as well as boxboard, to the list of things to be recycled, the enforcement of existing recycling laws on office cleaning companies, with a just amount in fines for not complying, doesn't let towns to have a zoning ordinance that doesn't match up with the new recycling efforts, prohibit trash haulers from charging more to residents and businesses who want curbside recycling, a requirement for making recycling more accessible and a requirement for commercial waste removal contracts to specify how the recyclables will be collected.

Martin Mador, Legislative Chair, Sierra Club likes it because it adds to reporting requirements, adds more plastics, boxboard and types of paper as material that is going to be recycled. This bill also requires the separation of recyclables from other solid waste and provide for municipal collection of recyclables and they recommend passage of this bill.

Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority supports many of the concepts outlined in this bill including the proposed changes in the municipal reporting requirements as outlined in Section 2(h) because it would ensure the proper way to report the solid waste and recycling deliveries. They would support the “concept to encourage more recycling, including commercial recycling as well as the recycling all plastics and other potentially recyclable items as long as there are the necessary markets willing to purchase the recycled materials to make into other products”.

Kachina Walsh-Weaver, Senior Legislative Associate, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities supports the fact that this bill will make new requirements as a step towards increasing recycling across Connecticut but they do make some revisions to consider. They also support changing the reporting requirements for recyclable items reducing the burden on municipalities for tracking destinations of these items. In section 3 of the bill, it would expand the list of item that are mandated to be recycled but they are concerned that the municipalities might be faced with “limited or no options for in-state disposal” of those items and they would urge the committee to have those items be immediate upon the cost-effective disposal options. This bill should also provide that any municipalities required to recycle new items pursuant to this section not have to do so if it would have an overall negative impact on their budgets. They urge proponents to seek the input of local planning and zoning officials to ensure the language is accurately drafted to meet the intention without taking advantage and are concerned that there may be other municipal programs that could be unintentionally impacted by this language and we urge you to amend it to protect against that possibility. They make recommendation to delete section 7 entirely concerning the requirement of contracts for the collection of solid waste also make a provision for the collection of recycling and delete the provision that would require separate collection container used for recycling items. They are always supportive of measure to encourage more recycling and will work with proponents of this bill to get the needed information to make sure that there are no new added unfunded mandates added on without consequences.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Ralph Eno, Board of Directors, Connecticut Council of Small Towns do not believe that this is the time to create new and possibly costly mandates with municipal budgets and the taxpayers who already fund them, to stretch their limits even further. These additional costs would be passed on to residents who will have no other choices. The intent of this bill is laudable, but the timing is a problem and asks that the committee think long and hard before adding the new mandates in this bill. The present version of the bill includes a very nice exemption if a community was to surpass the statewide recycling average, but the mandate kicks in if it were to fall below that in any way.

Reported by: Alexandra Chamenko

Date: March 25, 2010