The last time you threw that banana peel or cereal box into your kitchen trash bin, did you maybe wonder exactly how much trash you and your household generate every year?

Well, the Sustainable Fairfield Task Force (SFTF) has “the receipts” – and the numbers are pretty remarkable.

The SFTF has been working with the Town’s Department of Public Works and the Solid Waste & Recycling Commission to help residents and businesses to reduce their solid waste as well as increase and improve their recycling practices.  The facts are that over the 12 months ending June 30, 2021, each of the Town’s residents generated on average a striking 712 pounds of trash – and that was even down a bit from the previous 12 months, when the total was 753 pounds per person.

For comparison, 712 pounds is about the weight of four and a half full beer kegs (160 pounds each).  And for the entire Town, 712 pounds per person translates into about 19,400 tons in total – or nearly 39 million pounds.

Trash is harmful to the environment when it’s incinerated or dumped in a landfill. What to do?  As a start, residents can make sure they are recycling instead of trashing all eligible items and also are taking care to follow good recycling practices – because unfortunately items not properly prepared for recycling can end up getting trashed instead.

The Town’s trash haulers are now in the process of placing stickers on household recycling bins that offer must-do’s for effective recycling.  You can see the sticker and the list of tips above and if you haven’t yet seen one appear on your bin, you can call your hauler to ask for one.

Here are perhaps the most important tips of all:

  • Never put your recyclables out for pickup in a plastic bag. Haulers aren’t required to open plastic bags to determine if the contents are trash or recyclables.  So even if a plastic bag’s contents are 100% recyclable, everything in it will end up going to the incinerator.
  • If you do use a plastic bag in your kitchen to collect recyclables, be sure to EMPTY the recyclables directly into your blue bin — and then put the plastic bag in your trash.

And here are some special trash disposal and recycling opportunities:

  • Safely Dispose of Hazardous Household Waste:  You can drop off your hazardous household waste items for safe disposal at Fairfield’s annual Hazardous Waste Day, Saturday, Aug. 27, from 9 am to 2pm at Veterans Park, 909 Reef Road.  Check out this page on the Town website for details including information on eligible items.
  • Recycle Your Glass Separately:  Glass often breaks when recycled with other items and then must be trashed.  But you can bring your glass recyclables to the Town Transfer Station on Richard White Way, where they are collected separately for effective recycling into an environmentally friendly cement product.
  • Compost Your Food Waste:  The Town will soon launch a food waste composting project at the Town Transfer Station.  Be sure to keep checking the Sustainable Fairfield website for details.
  • Recycle Your Old Mattress:  Old mattress and box spring components can be re-used in a broad range of other products. You can bring yours to a recycling event to be held on Saturday, Oct. 22 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm at Veterans Park, 909 Reef Road.

Top Tips to Clean the Stream:

1. Don’t put plastic bags of any kind into the blue recycling bin.

Items in plastic bags will be sent to our Solid Waste plant in Bridgeport and not even opened for recycling, even if the items inside are actually clean recyclables

Plastic bags contaminate and clog rollers.

2. All plastics, paper in bin should BE CLEAN!


3. Remove all plastic foam & packaging inside boxes.

Those items contaminate the recyclable cardboard and should be thrown in the trash.

4. Your recyclables should be DRY!

Moisture promotes mold and bacterial contamination.

5. Separate your glass-deposit at your local transfer station.

There is a good market for glass if it gets separated.

6. NO black or dark plastics in the Bin  – such as the black plastic take out containers or green garden planning containers.

These can not be recycled at our facility. 

7. NO small plastics such as pill bottles, alcohol minis or bottle caps.

These just go in the regular trash.

8. NO foam coffee cups or any foam packing materials such as bubble wrap or foam peanuts.

The bubble wrap and many other plastic wrap items can be recycled at many local grocery stores in the plastic bag bns .

9. Just because it has one of the chasing arrows recycling symbols does not mean it is actually recyclable.

Those symbols actually indicate the type of plastic  and most Recycling facilities can only recycle numbers 1 and 2

10.If in doubt – throw it out.

Items put in the recycling bins that are not actually able to be recycled cost the town money as they have to then be carted down to the solid waste plant.