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Zero-Waste Project

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Connecticut’s Bottle Bill is Back After Services Were Reduced
by Kevin Budris

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, staffing concerns caused many New England states with bottle return programs to temporarily stop enforcing collection requirements at grocery stores, supermarkets, and liquor shops. Connecticut was among the states pressing pause on bottle bill enforcement. But as of May 20, the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has reinstated bottle collection requirements at these retail sites.

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Waste Industry Exploits Pandemic as Cover for Rollbacks
by Jen Duggan

Under cover of the pandemic, the waste industry is trying to demolish critical environmental protections. In April, the waste industry and Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation asked the legislature to delay Vermont’s food scrap ban and trash recyclables, all under the guise of protecting the health of workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But they appear to be part of a push from waste industry groups to use the crisis to advance their own agenda in several New England states.

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UPDATE: Developer Withdraws Application for Rhode Island Garbage Depot
by Kevin Budris

Last month, we helped raise the alarm about a dangerous proposal for a garbage depot near Washington Park and South Providence neighborhoods. The garbage depot – and the dust, odor, traffic, and water pollution that would come with it – would have forced more pollution on communities already overburdened by other nearby industrial facilities. The reckless proposal spurred weeks of community action and resulted in an unqualified victory for residents.

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Beverage Containers Among Top Ten Items Littering the Connecticut River
by Kelsey Wentling

My first day on the job as Connecticut River Conservancy’s newest River Steward was a whirlwind – literally. We got an early morning start with our friends at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for a windy trip up and down the Connecticut River on their airboat. As we came to our first stop and dismounted the boat, I was shocked and disappointed to see the amount of plastic bottles and nips littering Connecticut’s shoreline.

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Proposed Garbage Depot Is a Bad Idea for Providence
by Kevin Budris

At the corner of Allens and Thurbers avenues in Providence, Rhode Island, sits a less-than-four-acre lot that could soon be home to a massive garbage depot. The proposal has nearby residents in South Providence and Washington Park worried and angry – and with good reason. These communities are already burdened by daily pollution from other nearby industrial facilities.

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Infographic: Comparing New England’s Bottle Return Programs
by Olivia Synoracki

Although some New England states pioneered the bottle return system, they have since fallen behind. But New England can improve its recycling by updating or adopting bottle return systems in each state. This would help reduce litter in our neighborhoods, parks, and waterways; it would keep recyclable material out of landfills and incinerators; and it would lift some recycling costs off of communities.

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Swapping Out One Unnecessary Evil for Another
by Olivia Synoracki

After decades of warnings about the various health and environmental risks linked to polystyrene foam, corporate America is just now lending an ear. While some restaurants and coffee shops were quick to swap out polystyrene foam cups for paper ones, others have reacted more slowly – including coffee and donut giants, Honey Dew and Dunkin’.…

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Aging Waste Incinerators Pose a Danger to New Englanders
by Kevin Budris

Home to 16 active trash incinerators, New England has been burning its waste for decades, harming our communities and damaging our climate in the process. The rationale behind burning our trash may seem sound on the surface. Proponents argue that it diverts waste from landfills, and the energy produced by incineration can be used to…

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Advocating for Change and Making Shift Happen
by Olivia Synoracki

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs recently named a group of students from Martha’s Vineyard, who took action against the island’s plastic waste, as the winners of their Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition. Here, we take a look at what the students accomplished and see how advocacy work is essential to creating lasting solutions for New…