More Than a New Year’s Resolution: Connecticut Organics Recycling Mandate Expands in 2022

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Perhaps not as glamorous as the Times Square crystal ball, but something else drops at the start of the New Year: The threshold for mandated food waste separation and recycling by certain industrial and commercial facilities in Connecticut.

Legislation passed this year cut in half the annual tonnage of organic waste generation – from 52 tons/year to 26 tons/year – that will trigger the state’s organics recycling mandate under certain conditions. In particular, as of January 1, 2022, certain facilities – industrial food manufacturers and processors, commercial food wholesalers and distributors, supermarkets, resorts, and conference centers – must source-separate organic materials from other solid waste and ensure that such source-separated organic materials are recycled at an authorized composting facility. This requirement is triggered if the following conditions are met:

  1. The facility must generate an average projected volume of at least 26 tons/year of source-separate organic materials;
  2. The facility does not compost its source-separated organics material on-site, or treat it via on-site organic treatment equipment permitted under state or federal law; and
  3. The facility is located 20 miles or less from an authorized composting facility that has available capacity and will accept the source-separated material.

While Connecticut’s statute does not provide details about how to calculate a facility’s average projected volume against the 26 tons/year threshold, the internet provides some tools that may be useful for this purpose (caveat emptor). For example, there is a calculator developed by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection-funded Recycling Works in connection with that state’s similar organics recycling mandate.

To determine if an authorized composting facility is within the 20-mile limit of your facility, a good place to start is the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s food waste composting webpage. This page includes a relatively recent, but not necessarily definitive, list of such composting facilities.

Unlike some of the other jurisdictions in the country with similar organics recycling mandates, Connecticut’s program does not cover institutional cafeterias, such as those at large corporate offices, hospitals, schools or universities.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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