MIRA to Close Hartford Recycling Center for Center in Berlin

Unable to find funding to renovate its recycling facility in Hartford, the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority, or MIRA, agreed instead to send recyclables to a private facility in Berlin.  The authority serves about 70 towns across the region. The MIRA board voted to approve a six-year agreement to have Murphy Road Recycling replace FCR – owned by Republic Services – as MIRA’s contractor for processing recyclables in May. The Hartford facility, which MIRA says is in dire need of upgrades to continue operating, will be “mothballed,” and will serve as a transfer station for the foreseeable future. MIRA President

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No Added Costs or Loss of Service Expected after Split with Recycling Contractor

Despite a lawsuit that cost MIRA $1.3 million, and its recycling contractor, the president of Connecticut’s largest waste collector said its single stream recycling service won’t be interrupted or cost more for its members. The Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority’s board voted earlier this week to pay FCR – owned by Republic Services – $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit in which the contractor alleged that the amount of contamination in loads of recyclables MIRA delivered was more than allowed by contract, and that the high levels of contamination were causing it to operate at a loss. The settlement also

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Contaminated Recyclables Cost Region’s Trash Collector $1.3 Million Settlement

Single-stream recycling has proven costly for the state’s largest trash collector, as the Hartford-based Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority, commonly known as MIRA, has agreed to pay $1.3 million to the contractor that processes its recycling over claims that excessive contamination violated the contract with the processor. FCR, owned by Republic Services, processes the recyclable materials that MIRA collects from 44 towns in the lower Connecticut River Valley. FCR sued MIRA in May 2019, alleging that deliveries to the recycling facility consistently contained more than 5 percent non-recyclable waste, which violated the terms of its contract. A November ruling from

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Lamont Rejects Plea for $330 Million of Subsidies for MIRA Waste-to-Energy Plant

The State of Connecticut rejected a Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) plea for a grant of over $330 million in a letter Tuesday, calling the plan a “false choice, and a bad deal” for taxpayers across the state, for Hartford residents and for the environment. The struggling waste authority, which serves 70 municipalities across Connecticut, had warned the state that if it did not provide hundreds of millions in subsidies, it would convert its “waste-to-energy plant to a massive transfer station” in order to send trash to landfills. “I cannot support sending hundreds of millions of state taxpayer or

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Back to Square One as Region Towns Reject $333 Million Renovation of MIRA Trash Incinerator

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On May 31, the Materials Innovation Recycling Authority (MIRA) will go back to drawing board to find an alternative to either trucking thousands of tons of garbage out of state annually or spending $333 million to renovate an out-of-date trash incinerator in Hartford. With an early end to the legislative session and the 51-member towns spread across the Lower Connecticut River Valley unwilling to foot the bill for the renovations, MIRA has no choice but to leave behind their agreement with Sacyr Rooney Recovery Team. “We had anticipated the answer we got from the towns and it helped clarify the

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New Regional Budget For Hazardous Household Waste Cuts Collection Dates

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Essex’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility will have two fewer collection dates than last year for its 10 member towns in its March to October 2020 season, as a result of a new annual budget for the program approved Wednesday by members of the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG). Under this budget, a total of 16 RiverCOG towns will split the costs of $73,000 plus the additional costs of disposal for a new vendor, Virginia-based MXI Environmental Services, to operate the program. The cost to each individual town is based on their population according to Department of Public

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Area Towns Face Hike in Tipping Fees as Officials Debate 30-year Commitment to Trash Incineration

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The 51 member towns that take part in the Materials Innovation Recycling Authority (MIRA) will need to decide by May 31 whether to sign on to a 30-year agreement to continue incinerating municipal garbage at a starting rate of $145 per ton or to have that garbage hauled and landfilled out of state.  The state legislature faces a related question this session with the introduction of SB 11, “An Act Concerning the Reliability, Sustainability, and Economic Vitality of the State’s Waste Management System.” The legislation would set an annual waste reduction goal of 700 pounds per capita by 2022, and

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With No Easy Alternative, Advocates Call for Equity in Managing State’s Waste

For the last 26 years, hundreds of diesel trucks and a steady stream of smoke have greeted the residents – and commuters – in south Hartford each day. The trucks — carrying trash from 49 other towns — are headed for the Materials Innovation Recycling Authority (MIRA)’s waste-to-energy plant on Maxim Road near the Wethersfield line. “The community has been fighting MIRA before it existed, fighting it for 26 years,” said Edith Pestana, director of the Environmental Justice Program for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and a resident of Hartford. “We’ve been talking about toxic waste and

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MIRA waste-to-energy deal faces major obstacles

Caught between tipping fees that could reach $140 a ton, and Hartford’s likely refusal to agree to 30 more years of hosting the state’s largest waste incinerator, a deal to avoid trucking a significant portion of Connecticut’s waste out of state appears on the brink of failure. A term sheet signed last week by MIRA’s board of directors and the plant’s would-be operator Sacyr Rooney Recovery Team sketched the outlines of a deal that would leave the 50-member towns paying as much as $140 per ton to dispose of solid waste compared to the current $85.  The term sheet requires

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$333 Million Plan for Trash Incinerator Could Be Costly for Lower Connecticut River Valley

A $333 million agreement reached between the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) and Sacyr Rooney Recovery Team could lead to sharply higher tipping fees. The agreement between the public authority and Sacyr Rooney arrives more than five years after the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was tasked with soliciting bids for the refurbishment of MIRA’s trash-to-energy facility in Hartford that serves 50 member towns, including Lyme, Old Lyme, Essex, Old Saybrook, Killingworth, Chester, and Deep River. Sacyr Rooney Recovery Team (SRRT) partners Sacyr, a Spain-based firm specializing in complex infrastructure projects, with Manhattan Construction Group, a firm experienced

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New 12-town Garbage Contract Stabilizes Costs for Member Towns

The Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resources Recovery Authority (SCRRRA) earlier this year signed a 10-year agreement to dispose of solid waste at the Wheelabrator facility in Lisbon. The agreement will take effect in January 2021 and will stabilize costs for member towns. SCRRRA will pay Wheelabrator $69 per ton of waste — significantly less than the current $84 per ton paid by SCRRRA to the waste-to-energy incinerator facility in Preston, operated by Covanta Energy. That $15 per ton reduction in cost will save SCRRRA over $2 million each year at current levels of waste disposal, keeping municipal costs as low as

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A Reckoning for Connecticut on Handling Municipal Waste

With the market for recyclables in collapse, infrastructure for incinerating in disrepair, and costs for hauling trash on the rise, towns across Connecticut are facing a reckoning on how to handle municipal waste. In fiscal year 2015, Essex received $7,920 from the Materials Innovation Recycling Authority (MIRA) for the recyclables collected at the Essex transfer station. “On October 16, 2019 we received an email from MIRA saying we would not be receiving any rebate this year,” said Kelly Sterner, finance director for the town of Essex. “That’s the third year in a row. It feels like the writing is on

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Old Lyme Switches Garbage Pickup after 30 Years

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After 30 years with Old Lyme Sanitation, Old Lyme is switching contracts to CWPM Waste Removal and Recycling Services saving $40,000 and providing weekly recycling pickup for the town beginning July 1. In short, the green bin can go out to the street each week. But what goes in the blue bin is not changing.

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Letter: “Slim down your waste”

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While it is vitally important that our municipal, state and federal government agencies work aggressively on environmental protection acts, our individual behavior and responsible approach to waste management is imperative. We must all learn to trim a little off of our waste, little by little, every day. Small changes can make a big difference over time.

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