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Small Ways to Get Involved in the Haddam Sustainability Committee

Submitted by Kristin Battistoni.

(March 23, 2022) — Have you said to yourself, “I really want to get involved with the Haddam Sustainability Committee (HSC), but just don’t have a ton of time right now?” Well, have I got some great news for you! We have several opportunities for you to donate just a little bit of time. We do not have budgets for most projects; however, we can offer community service to high school students or scouts.

Food Scrap Recovery Project:

The HSC is looking for residents willing to separate their garbage from stinky food scraps. We have doubled participation in the first two months of this program; however, we need your help to do it again. The program is so simple! Take all food scraps and throw them in a bucket. Take that bucket to the Transfer Station and dump it in the Blue Earth bins by the Swap Shack. Watch how much you reduce your garbage and how much less stinky your garbage becomes. If you don’t have a transfer station pass, stop in and see Kristin in the Tax Office to pick up a free sticker. This will allow you entry to dump your food only. This program helps save the town money by taking heavy food scraps out of regular municipal waste.

Community Garden:

Do you have a green thumb you want to put to good use?  Do you want to have a garden but don’t have a great yard to make that possible? Do you want to help organize a community garden? The HSC has been asked to look into this project but we cannot pull it off by ourselves. We need the community to be involved. We are seeking a few individuals to see if Haddam can support this.

Artist Needed for Recycling Corner at the Town Office Building:

Calling all artists! Have you been into the Town Office Building? Do you know we have a recycling corner? You may have missed it because it doesn’t look like much. We are looking for a design to pull the whole area together. All designs need to be approved by the Board of Selectmen, but a painted mural is highly encouraged! Currently, we have special collection containers for Pantene products, Head & Shoulder products, disposable razors and toothpaste products through Terracycle. We also collect flags that are picked up monthly by veterans.  Not everyone has a transfer station pass, so we collect batteries and light bulbs here as well.  If you would like to add a specialty box, let us know.

Soft Plastic Collection:

We still collect soft plastic to be recycled through TREX. If it stretches or has a recycling symbol, it can be included. We are always looking for volunteers to update the list of stores that collect for TREX. Our contact list needs to be updated. We also need volunteers to take plastic back to participating stores. Stop and Shop in Middletown is currently the only store I know of that is taking plastic in bulk since COVID. The process is simple: just take the pre-weighed bags from the shed in the back parking lot of the Town Office Building to the bottle return at Stop and Shop in Middletown. There is no need to notify anyone at the store. If you take bags, email HaddamSustainabilityCommittee@gmail.com with the weights. We keep track and after we collect 500 pounds, we are eligible for a TREX Bench. You may have seen a few of them around town already.

Connecticut Sustainability Certification:

Did you know the town is applying for Bronze status through Connecticut Sustainability? We are looking for a highly organized individual to make sure our application is submitted on time and that all requirements are checked off. Check out sustainablect.org for volunteer opportunities through this program.

All of the opportunities are open to anyone. You do not need to be a member of the HSC to help out. If you have an idea, bring it to a meeting and present it. We have lots of various interests among our members. There is always someone interested in the same things you are. We are currently looking into, in addition to the programs listed above, a solar initiative, recycling education, expanding the Food Scraps program to schools/restaurants, creating a “Phone Book” for environmentally-friendly businesses, and bringing a can/bottle recycling machine to town. It takes a village to get some projects off the ground. We are very happy to help get all sustainable projects rolling. Your involvement is what you make it. Our committee is small, but we reach high! Come help us!

We are always looking to talk to groups in town. If you want us to come talk to you, let us know!

We meet the fourth Wednesday of every month from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Old Town Hall located at 21 Field Park Drive, Haddam. Email HaddamSustainabilityCommittee@gmail.com with any questions.

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