Do you know where your trash goes once it leaves your hands?  It’s a question I most often get asked. In fact, we heard from so many of you at the farmer’s market this month that I decided to dedicate this conversation of Talking Trash with Tammy to this very topic.

To answer the question, let’s first talk about what comes to mind with the word “landfill”. For me the word triggers memories of pungent smells when visiting the town landfill with my grandfather as a young girl. He would get out of his old Chevy, pop the trunk, grab a few black garbage bags and pay a few dollars per bag to the landfill worker. In the distance, I remember seeing large piles of garbage being moved by bulldozers with seagulls flying and diving overhead. 

Today’s landfills, just like my old memories, are a thing of the past — in fact, many have been converted to parks or open fields over the last several decades. So where does our trash go now?  There’s two paths of collecting garbage for Wilton residents however it all ends up in the same place and that’s the incinerator.

Trash delivered to The Transfer station by residents or private haulers is then carted to the Wheelabrator incinerator in Bridgeport. The ash produced is trucked to an ash landfill in Putnam, Connecticut. This is the only major in-state landfill still operating in Putnam: a massive facility taking in about 575,000 tons of ash a year from trash-to-energy plants. A proposal to extend the life of that ash landfill is now drawing opposition from local residents and environmental groups.

Our trash has gotten the better of us and the environment — in the last two decades alone, each year we produce on average 2.5 million more tons of municipal solid waste according to the Environmental Protection Agency. More trash burned in incinerators means more toxic fumes in the form of greenhouse gases and more ash in landfills means more methane gases all polluting the air we breathe. 

With everything we buy and then decide to throw away, consider the overall impact this has from start to finish on the environment and our overall well being. For easy ideas on how to reduce your waste at home and in the community, visit Wilton Go Green’s Do One Thing page and learn how small changes on your part can make an outsized impact on our environment. 

Stay tuned for part 2 on the topic of where our trash goes by addressing where our recycling goes.

Talking Trash with Tammy is a continuing conversation on creating sustainable habits that we can simply and easily turn green. Collectively we can cultivate healthy spaces at home and in our community with an outsized impact for our environment.

Did you find this blog helpful? Share your comments below or connect with Tammy  on green topics you would like her to address. Let’s talk trash!

By 2 Comments July 6, 2021

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