SCRRRA Tuesday Trash Talk

SCRRRA Tuesday Trash Talk

Did you know that daylight savings (which is this weekend) was Benjamin Franklin’s idea?  The concept to reset clocks in the summer months as a way to conserve energy.  By moving clocks forward, people could take advantage of the extra evening daylight rather than wasting energy on lighting.   

With the changing of the clocks – it is also recommended to change your batteries in your smoke detectors.  So – what do you do with the batteries?

Alkaline Batteries (All sizes): These batteries are not hazardous and can be disposed in your regular trash or you can bring them to one of the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collections.


Take the SCRRRA Recycling Challenge and get entered to win a prize.  Go to our website, and then click on the Waste Sorting Game.  Send us your completed Certificate of Achievement (email to , fax 860-381-5948 or mail it).  Make sure to include your contact information and which category (Kids or Adults).  Our contest runs from March until April 22, 2017.  For kids – we have several prize packs which includes a backpack, water bottle, Frisbee and much more.  For Adults – we have two compost bins with pails.  Call our office with any questions – GOOD Luck!


HHW & What Goes Where

Many of us have been enjoying this warmer weather.  With the sunshine – many have been hit with the spring cleaning bug.  How do I know? Well, due to the amount of phone calls we have been getting at SCRRRA regarding getting rid of things (which is great!!).

 Our first Household Hazardous waste collection will be held on April 8th – at the Stonington Highway Dept.  Any resident that lives in the SCRRRA authority can attend ANY or ALL of the collections.  For more details – go to our website –

Also – check out our new program “WHAT GOES HERE”.  It is an interactive program where you type in the item and it will tell you how to disposal of it the correct way!  This program is also available for your mobile device – just type in SCRRRA in the Google play or Apple App store.


Holiday Lights

Rigging up the lights….it is one of those chores that some people dread, but at the end what a beautiful site.  No matter how careful I am with putting them away – I usually get one or two nice knotted balls of lights that need to be untangled.  Then another lesson learned is to test the string prior to hanging.  Go ahead and giggle – you probably learned that lesson too. So, if you have a sting of holiday lights that do not work – how do you get rid of it?

Well, they do not go in the recycling cart / bin.  You would take them to your transfer station (at no charge).  They are considered electronic waste – once they are collected from the transfer station – they are recycled. 



I was recently up at the recycling center – where all of SCRRRA’s single stream recycling items go.  I was talking to some of the staff about their process of reviewing the materials.  In order to get a better recycling product – they have to hand pick the non-recyclable items.   I was surprised at how many Needles/Syringes (Sharps) that were with the recycle items. Just loose, in no container – just waiting for someone to grab it the wrong way.

Sharps that are used at home are not considered as biomedical waste.  They are NOT recyclable.  To promptly dispose of – please seal them in a rigid, puncture-resistant container (detergent bottles, coffee cans) – do not put them in soda bottles or glass containers.  Also, label the container “Do Not Recycle”.  Improper disposal of sharps can lead to needle-stick injuries that cause infection.  Also, needles have been washing up on our beaches and riverbanks.

Thank you for doing the right thing!


Mystery Items

You know most of us have inherited a can or two of the “mystery” items that are usually found in your garage or basement. The label is missing, smells like gas or looks like paint. Well, now is the time to say goodbye to those items. How you ask – simple. Bring it to one of the SCRRRA Hazardous Waste collections. We have two left for this year. September 10th (North Stonington) and October 1st (Ledyard). There is NO CHARGE for this service!


Keurig Coffee Makers

With everything going on in our lives – we rely on appliances to streamline the process. Probably one of the most important appliance (for some people) to come out was the Keurig coffee maker. Talk about a time saver, it heats up quickly, put in the puck and happiness flows into your travel mug. So after many years of coffee – it happens, no more coffee coming out – it is broke, unfixable. So how do you dispose of it?

You can take it to the transfer station – this item is considered to be electronic waste (e-waste). The transfer station accepts e-waste at NO CHARGE.


Christmas Trees

You can’t but notice all the fresh cut Christmas trees being brought home. There is nothing like that smell.  So after the holidays, how do you dispose of your tree?

Recycle Your Christmas Tree

All of the SCRRRA Transfer Stations accepts Christmas trees. Make sure the tree is clean of all ornaments, tinsel and lights.  Your tree will then be shredded, creating mulch.

Some towns offer curbside pick-up of your Christmas tree – check with you Public Works office.

Or with a little imagination, your tree can be used for other purposes such as a Bird House. Place your tree in your yard as an organic feeder and sanctuary for birds.  You can but some pinecones with peanut butter and birdseed in the branches.  The birds will appreciate the food and you can enjoy some great bird watching.


Mattress and Box Spring Recycling

So it’s finally time, – no longer getting a good night’s sleep, – time for a new bed set. But what do you do with the old one? Unfortunately 15 – 20 million mattresses are discarded every year in the U.S. But in Connecticut we have a new (May 2015) Mattress Recycling Program in place.

Here’s how it works: when households purchase a new box spring and/or mattress there is a recycling fee of $9 each (which goes to the Mattress Recycling Council), that supports the recycling of the old bedding. There are 2 industrial plants in Connecticut (East Hartford, and Bridgeport) that take old mattresses and box springs for recycling. Here in Southeastern CT many of our town transfer stations (Griswold, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Preston, Sprague, Stonington & Waterford) offer a dedicated recycling container for bedding. Or, the retail store can deliver the new and remove the old mattress and box spring for recycling.

Over 80% of old bedding can be recycled – captured is the steel, foam, cotton, wood and other fibers.


Cell Phones

Know anyone who DOESN”T have a cell phone? How did we ever live without them? But with the proliferation of cell phones comes the need to properly dispose of the older cell phones. This is even more important with folks changing over to “smart” phones.

But what to do with the old one? Well, many of the major service have programs for old phones. These phones are either refurbished (for reuse with a new owner), or recycled for the metals they contain.

SCRRRA accepts all types of cells phones for the “Cell Phones For Soldiers” program. “Cell Phones For Soldiers” is a national nonprofit serving troops and veterans with free communication services and emergency funding. Our collection box is located at our Gales Ferry Office.


Vegetable Oil

With Thanksgiving just around the corner many households will be busy cooking and preparing food for the holidays. And some of those foods will be deep fried, including many turkeys (quite tasty cooked that way). Which leads to left over gallons of spent cooking oils. What to do?

Well, spent vegetable oil can be recycled into fuel for vehicles and heating oil for homes – Biofuel or Biodiesel. The old, spent cooking oil is collected and processed (to remove the glycerol) and then blended with regular petroleum diesel fuel. Several of the Authority’s towns (Groton, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Norwich, Sprague and Stonington) provide for the separate collection and recycling of spent cooking oil. So don’t discard that old cooking oil – see that it gets reused instead!


Air Conditioners

Well, after we had a little snow on Sunday it is safe to say that the cooler weather is here! Since people do not need their air conditions – We have been receiving many phone calls about how to dispose of them.

Air conditioners are one of the appliances that may contain ozone depleting substances, including refrigerants and or insulating foams that can be release if not properly disposed of.  Older air conditioners may contain a harmful refrigerant called Freon.

The proper way to dispose of an air conditioner is to take it to you transfer station.  At the transfer station the Freon is PROPERLY removed.


Fire Extinguishers

As we celebrated my daughter’s birthday and staring at ALL THOSE candles – it dawned on me, where is our fire extinguisher?  But seriously, you should make sure your fire extinguisher is not out of date. But what if it is? How do you properly dispose of it?

All fire extinguishers are under pressure and should not be put in the regular trash. Many of today’s units are rechargeable.  For a small fee you can have your fire extinguisher emptied, checked and re-filled.

Some communities accept fire extinguishers at the town transfer station, or local fire department.  Or you can bring them one of SCRRRA’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection (At No Charge).

As a reminder – the last Household Hazardous Waste Collection for this year is on 11/07/15 in Ledyard.


Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors

In the late 1930s, a Swiss physicist was working on a sensor for detecting poison gas. Walter Jaeger’s device failed to register small amounts of gas. Frustrated, he lit a cigarette and the smoke moved the meter on his gadget. Jaeger’s experiment helped pave the way for today’s smoke detector.

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors are critical to insuring the safety of your home and family. And both work in different ways to identify life threating dangers in your home. No home should be without them.

Many newer houses have a Smoke Detector that is both hard wired to the electrical system and has a battery back-up. Others use only batteries. Smoke Detectors use a very, very small amount of radioactive material. A study (Per the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission) from 2001 found that people living in a home with two smoke detectors receive less than 0.002 millirems of radiation doses each year. That is the dose from space and earth – known as “background radiation”. How much is that? An East Coast resident receives that amount in about 12 hours. So with that being said – Your Old, non-working Smoke Detectors can safely be placed into regular trash.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors use a small electrical current to detect CO, and commonly have a shorter life span of 2 – 5 years. Old CO Detectors can be recycled with scrap electronics at your town’s transfer station.



So after we recycle our paper, cans and bottles, what can we do with the rest?

Well, much of what remains can be composted. And the list is lengthy. Food scraps, coffee grounds, old bread, tea bags, grimy pizza boxes, wet paper towels, – all can be easily transformed into compost. SCRRRA sells backyard compost bins at cost ($45 each) to encourage households to compost organics. In addition to creating compost, your trash won’t smell – the yuk organics are gone!

Composting involves mixing “greens” – food scraps, etc., with “browns” – mulch, leaves etc. SCRRRA provides instructions on composting or folks can go online. Composting is simple and easy to do!


Brush & Leaves

This summer has flown by. With tomorrow being the first day of Autumn I thought the trash topic of Brush and leaves was appropriate. For the leaves you can always add them to your compost bin – which we will talk about next week. So when you are doing your fall clean-up – if you do not mulch your leaves with a mulching mower – how do you get rid of your brush and leaves?

Most of the transfer stations offer to take the brush and leaves – make sure to check with your transfer station prior to loading up your vehicle. All the transfer stations are listed at

Once the town’s transfer station has a large pile of brush – SCRRRA will bring their tub grinder and make mulch. Most of the towns offer this – free – to the town residents. That’s right – free mulch! (Please note you would need to load it yourself). This mulch works great in gardens, along rock walls, etc.

If you ever have a question – CALL SCRRRA.


Used Motor Oil and Oil Filters

Many car and truck owners still do work on their vehicles, including regular oil changes. This of course leads to jugs filled with the old motor oil and the old filters which are changed along with the oil. Improper disposal of oil can contaminate ground and surface water. But, finding a “new” home for old oil is easy. All the SCRRRA transfer stations accept and recycle old motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, hydraulic fluid, and filters. The old oil and fluids are processed into fuel for large industrial furnaces. The filters are crushed to extract their oil contents and the metal is recycled. Some used oil is refined into new lubricating oil.



Paint. Or I should say old paint. Seems like every household has old, left over pints and gallons of latex and oil based paint stored in basements and garages. No longer usable, or the wrong color, what can we do with this paint? The days of putting kitty litter in the can or spreading it out on a tarp to dry it out are over.

In Connecticut there is a recycling program in place (since July 2013). This program is run by Paintcare. When you purchase new paint – you are assed a fee (depending on the container size). The fee is not a deposit – you don’t get it back when you drop off paint. This fee goes directly to Paintcare and not to any town or the state. This fee is used to cover the costs of storage, collection and recycling of old paint. In the past, taxpayers funded the costs associated with handling the old paint. Now the purchasers of new paint directly cover the expenditures of handling and disposing of old, unusable paint.

When Paintcare receives the paint – they make sure it gets recycled or properly disposed of at state authorized paint processing facilities. Out of the paint received about 10-25% of it is recycled.

Fortunately, there are several safe disposal options.

First, some town transfer stations take back old paint. You can also bring your paint to any of the SCRRRA Household Hazardous Waste collections. And finally some retailers such as Holdridge, Sherwin Williams, Johnson Hardware take limited quantities. To locate a drop off location – go to – this web site will give you the information and a map of locations that will take back your old paint.


Shredded Paper

Have you ever been to a kid’s party and they had a piñata? After a few hits with the stick, candy goes flying everywhere. Well, if you put your shredded paper in a bag and put it with your recyclables, you are making a confetti piñata for the single system plant. Once that bag gets processed – POW, paper goes everywhere. So what can you do with your Shredded paper?

If you shred your paper at home – it would go in the regular trash.

Not a very green solution, is it? So what else can you do with it?

Do you garden? Thin layers of paper can help as fertilizer, or to protect seeds from hungry birds. Just be sure not to shred coated (glossy) papers or those envelopes with cellophane windows. Those aren’t biodegradable.

Do you compost? Worms love paper! Just don’t overwhelm them; a little bit goes a long way.

Got pets? Add some paper to your cat’s litter box. Or sew up an old t-shirt, fill it with shredding and make a comfy doggie bed (Same rule as the garden – only biodegradable paper)!

Donate it! Your local animal shelter might want your shredded paper for a variety of bedding or litter needs, so give them a call.

Or bring your items to be shredded at the Household Hazardous Waste collection. There is no charge for this service. PLUS, all the shredding is recycled!


Aerosol Cans

It is amazing how many products come in aerosol cans. Almost every room in your house probably has some type of product in a can. So the weekly question – How do you dispose of aerosol cans?

The contents of the can determine whether it is recyclable or hazardous materials.

For Non-Hazardous aerosol cans (spray cooking oil, whipped toppings, deodorant, hair spray, shaving cream, air freshener’s, etc.) if the can is empty, they can go in your recycling cart/bin. If the can has some product left in it – it would go in your regular trash (or empty it and recycle).

Now, if you have an aerosol can that contains toxic materials (insecticides, bug spray, starter fluid, WD40, paint, etc.) – same principal, if they are EMPTY they go into your recycling cart/bin. But if they have product left in it – then you would need to take them to one of the Household Hazardous Collection events.

As always – if you have any questions – contact SCRRRA.


Light Bulbs

We have heard all of the jokes about light bulbs – from how many people does it take to change one to phrases like the lights are on but nobody is home. But you do not see a lot about how to properly dispose of them.

There are several types of light bulbs – first you have the traditional Incandescent bulb that has been around for more than 100 years, but they are now inefficient, generating lots of heat along with light.

Then along came the Compact Fluorescent bulbs or Compact FL for short. They fit in just like the Incandescent but they are far more efficient and last much longer.

They you have LED lights. Although more costly then Incandescent or Compact FL Bulbs, they have a much longer lifespan and generate little or no heat.

All of these types of bulbs can be recycled at your town transfer stations. You can also bring them to any of the Household Hazardous Collections (HHW).

The next HHW is THIS Saturday, August 15th at the Tyl Middle school in Montville ( Anyone living in the participating towns can bring their items to this collection. And don’t forget about the onsite Confidential Paper Shredding!



In this day and age many of our household items include some type of battery. It seems like you go through a lot of batteries for items you like and then you have that one loud obnoxious toy that your relative gave to your kids with the battery that will never die, LOL.

Millions of batteries of all types are disposed of in the US each year. Because some of them contain various hazardous materials, they can pose serious environmental risks if not discarded properly.

Here is a list of the common batteries and how to dispose of them.

Alkaline Batteries (All sizes): These batteries are not hazardous and can be disposed in your regular trash or you can bring them to one of the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collections.

Rechargeable Batteries: Any rechargeable battery, it can be from your laptop, power tools or even the AA rechargeable batteries – these can be taken to your town’s transfer station. You can also bring these to one of the HHW Collections where they will be recycled.

Hearing Aid Batteries (Zinc-Air) & Button Type Batteries (Silver Oxide): These are hazardous when you put them in your trash. To dispose of them – bring them to one of the one of the HHW Collections.

Camera and Portable Electronic Device Batteries: These lithium batteries can be found in cameras, thermometers, calculators and in remote car locks. These lithium batteries should not be put in the trash. To properly dispose of them – bring them to one of the HHW collections.



Old Gas…

When we get calls about what is acceptable at our Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collections – sometimes it is hard to not get silly. For example, received a call and the person told me that they had bad gas. My first response was to offer them some type of Tums. But with all kidding aside, what do you do with your old gasoline?

You can bring it to one of the HHW collections. Bring it in your gas container – if you want your container back, no problem. The gasoline mix is poured into a larger barrel and your container is returned to you right then and there. Not sure what else is in the gas such as oil, water, etc – again no problem – bring it to the collection. Same goes for Kerosene. The mixture is then repurposed.

Besides getting to meet some of us SCRRRA staff – there is no charge to bring your items to a HHW collection!


Propane Tanks

We are in the grilling season. Most propane tanks are refillable but sometime you might need to get rid of an old one. All of SCRRRA’s City & Town Transfer Stations accept old, out dated or damaged empty propane tanks. Please check with your transfer station regarding permit or potential fee information.

Some Helpful tips:

Do not throw your tank in the trash. Do Not Put An Obsolete Tank Into a Dumpster or Other Disposal Container.  It can pose a serious safety concern if the trash truck compacts its load, as it could crush and rupture the cylinder, releasing the rest of the propane. This could create an explosion hazard.

Do not leave valve open, because escaping gas is a fire hazard as well as a source of air pollution.

Save for disposal at your local household hazardous waste (HHW) collection. You can bring your propane tanks to any of the nine SCRRRA HHW collections (full or empty) – NO CHARGE – This includes the camping stove fuel size too.

What happens to the tanks when I turn them in?

Old propane tanks in good condition can be refurbished, tested, and returned to service. Old, rusted or damaged tanks are recycled for scrap metal.

Any questions – you can always call SCRRRA 860-381-5558.




People throughout the southeast region often are confused about the recyclability of plastic bags, now commonly used at department, and grocery stores. Frequent questions are:

“It’s plastic, and we recycled plastic bottles, why not bags? “

“The plastic bags have the recycling symbol on them – so why can’t I recycle them?”

Plastic bags get tangled in equipment at the recycling processing plant – where they end up discarded and are NOT Recycled.

So what are your options?

*You can throw them in the trash – where they will be taken to the Waste-To-Energy facility in Preston.

*You can use recyclable shopping totes or ask for paper bags (which are recyclable).

*You can gather them up and take them back to the store.

*Or you can take them to a plastic film recycling bin. At the recycling bin they accept the following items (Please recycle only clean, dry plastic bags and film):

  • Retail, Newspaper, Dry Cleaning, Bread, Produce and also other Plastic Bags labeled #2 and #4
  • Zip Close Food Storage Bags (Clean and Dry)
  • Furniture and Electronic Wrap
  • Plastic cereal box liners (if it tears like paper do not include)
  • Plastic shipping envelopes, including Tyvek, bubble wrap and air pillows (remove labels and/or deflate)
  • Product Wrap (used on paper towels, diapers, bathroom tissue, water bottles)


Where can you find a plastic film recycling bin? Go to  – . You are able to search for the most convenient place to drop off their plastic film scrap using a simple zip code search. For our area, Wal-Mart is listed.

So then what happens to the plastic I drop off at the bin?

Plastic bags are recycled into many different products. Most plastic bags are recycled into composite lumber but can also be reprocessed into post consumer resin which can become feed stock for a variety of products such as new bags, pallets, containers, crates and pipe.




Fishing Line

With summertime in full swing many Connecticut residents will enjoy fishing in their leisure time. But with the hobby of fishing comes great responsibility: being environmentally responsible for old, tangled line. Most fishing line is monofilament, – strong, buoyant, and non – biodegradable – the same characteristics that make it a hazard if line is lost while fishing. Fishing line is one of the top ten items collected during the annual coastal clean-up of marine debris.

More than one million birds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year from marine debris, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Did you know that is takes over 650 years for monofilament to disintegrate?

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has installed monofilament fishing line recycling receptacles at inland and coastal sites around the state to encourage less waste line in the environment. The disposed fishing line is collected by volunteers and then sent to a company that recycles it to make underwater habitat structures for fish.

Please help with the solution and not be part of the problem.IMG_9772