Trash and Recycling Information
The Town of Mansfield provides trash and recycling collection service for all residents, a transfer station for a variety of recyclables and waste, access to a regional hazardous waste facility, and educational programs on ways to reduce waste.
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Overview of Refuse Program
The Town's overriding solid waste principle is simply: the more trash you produce, the more you pay. In 1990, the Town Council, acting as the Mansfield Resource Recovery Authority, enacted comprehensive Solid Waste Regulations, which are revised as conditions change. All costs associated with solid waste, including the transfer station operation, are paid through garbage (and recycling) fees, not general taxation. The Mansfield Solid Waste Advisory Committee, a committee of seven residents, acts as a community sounding board for the Town's solid waste policies. These policies include issues relating to residential refuse and recycling service, transfer station operations, promotion of recycling and waste prevention, hazardous waste disposal, and bulky waste disposal. The Town, assisted by this committee, has promoted conservation by offering ways for residents to reduce their waste. In 1990 Mansfield was the first town in Connecticut to provide unit-based pricing for trash, where residents pay according to the amount of waste they generate, which encourages recycling and composting. Providing yearly workshops on backyard composting, increasing the types of items that can be recycled, providing information on how to create less waste, and operating a "swap shop" at the transfer station are some of the ways residents have had opportunities to reduce their trash fees.
Recycling service is provided to all residences, including multi-family, an often overlooked sector. Mansfield was one of the few communities in the United States to try weight-based trash collection at multi-family residences as a way to provide an incentive for landlords to promote recycling, and as a fairer way of charging for service.
What used to be the Mansfield landfill, now operates as a transfer station. It is located off of Route 89 in Mansfield Center, and is open to residents and small business two and a half days a week. It serves as a venue for disposing refuse, bulky waste, brush and leaves, and an assortment of recyclables. Aside from the brush that is processed into wood chips and leaves which are composted, the rest of the collected materials are transported to various recycling processors. Cans & bottles, mixed paper, cardboard, and scrap metal, the majority of the recyclables, are delivered to Willimantic Waste Paper, the local recycling processing plant. The Town participates in a multi-year Eastern Paper Project with the eleven other towns of the mid-Northeast Recycling Operating Committee (Mid-NEROC). Through this contract, Mid-NEROC towns share a portion of Willimantic Waste Paper's profits from the region's mixed paper and cardboard sales. Collectively Mid-NEROC towns contract for recycling cans & bottles, refrigerants, lead-acid batteries, waste oil, oil filters, antifreeze, propane tanks, scrap metal and tires. Mansfield individually arranges for the recycling of additional items, for example, computers, televisions, microwave ovens, fluorescent bulbs, household batteries, inkjet and laser cartridges, brake fluid, antifreeze, capacitors and ballasts. The Town generates about 6,000 tons of recyclables annually.
Made up of eleven surrounding towns and Mansfield, the Mid-Northeast Recycling Operating Committee opened a regional household hazardous waste facility in 1994. One of the first in the State, the facility is open 14 times during the year to residents and small businesses. About 4% of the Mansfield population use this facility annually to dispose of oil-based paints, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, household cleaners, pool chemicals, and solvents.
All three of the Mansfield elementary schools and the Middle School recycle 40% or more of their waste, including lunchtime food waste that is composted. In 1997, Southeast School was the first Mansfield school to compost its lunchtime food waste. The other elementary schools followed shortly thereafter; the Middle School began schoolwide composting in 2000. Through a DEP composting grant for the Mansfield Middle School, a “how to” composting manual for Connecticut schools and a school composting website were created. Southeast School has a Green Thumbs Club, which manages the compost produced from all three elementary schools. The students help empty the compost bin, mix it into potting soil, and grow plants in the school greenhouse. The compost has also been used to create perennial beds at school and in a neighboring park. Southeast, Goodwin and Middle School have received the “Green School” Award from the Connecticut Recyclers Coalition for their outstanding efforts.
Mansfield received a grant in 1999 to begin recycling electronic waste at the transfer station. Mansfield was the second Connecticut community that provided a permanent way for residents to recycle electronics. As a result, the Town annually collects roughly 20 tons of electronic waste known to contain toxic elements such as lead, mercury and cadmium.
For these notable achievements, Mansfield was selected for the first annual Municipal Recycling Honor Roll by the Department of Environmental Protection in 2003, and again in 2004.
Since 2004, the Town has worked closely with the Festival on the Green committee to create a low-waste event. The committee set an ambitious goal to compost or recycle 90% of the day’s waste. The Festival on the Green recycles & composts 85-87% of its waste.
All the parks have been outfitted with recycling containers that are effectively capturing bottles and can. These containers were designed and fabricated by Public Works staff.
In 2007, the Town began an organic land care program in order to promote the reduction of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers usage. Local retailers are participating by offering organics products, municipal staff received training on organic turf management and a residential workshop series was offered.