Ridgefield looks to hire recycling coordinator

A recycling coordinator position for the town appears to be in the works.

The Board of Selectmen discussed creating a recycling coordinator job — which the state requires the town to have — at their Dec. 11 meeting.

“We need to get more aggressive with recycling,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.

Some management of recycling efforts used to be provided by Highway Department employee Ellen Rossini but she’s no longer with the town, Marconi said.

A letter from RACE — the Ridgefield Action Coalition for the Environment — advocated the creation of the position.

“Reduction of waste is part of the RACE mission statement,” RACE said. “We encourage the Town of Ridgefield to significantly improve how and where information is accessed about recycling, waste management, the recycling center and the transfer station.

“A Ridgefield Recycling Coordinator is a much-needed resource for residents, other town commissions and committees, schools and businesses for obtaining this information.

“Public education and outreach should be a key function of this role with a close liaison relationship to the regional waste management and recycling authority HRRA (Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority) of which the town is a member.

“In addition to outreach and communication, improvements in waste reduction and management are a critical need,” RACE said. “Solid waste programs for food and vegetative matter, composting strategies and the reduction of energy cost for transport are important goals for our town.”

Marconi said there were areas the town could improve its recycling effort.

“All the glass we separate. That’s shipped to X-Y-Z company,” Marconi said. “We’re not making any money on it.”

He thought there might be local uses for the glass that could be looked into.

“There’s a product that takes the glass and rounds it off,” he said.

After eliminating all sharp edges, the glass pellets can be put to use..

“You can use it to back fill around tanks and pipes,” Marconi said.

“That’s a good use for our glass,” he said. “..instead of having HRRA sell it.”

Attending the meeting was Tiffany Carlson, who is a Ridgefield resident who has been working with Jenifer Heaton-Jones of the HRRA on recycling issues.

“I feel like I’ve mentored with her,” she told the selectmen.

Among the issues Carlson has found is that people aren’t aware Ridgefield participates in the PaintCare program that accepts many paints, stains and varnishes for recycling.

She also said she envisioned participating in the HRRA’s regional household hazardous waste collection days, which are held a few times a year.

Marconi seemed enthusiastic.

“Tiffany is a resident. She’s very knowledgeable,” he said. “I don’t want to lose her.”

“Full time? Part time?” Selectman Bob Hebert asked.

“It’ll definitely be part time,” Marconi said.

There were some loose ends to be tied up, however.

“We do not have a budget,” Marconi said. “I’d have to find a funding source.”

No vote was taken, as the board wanted to see some specifics on the proposed hours and pay and where the money for the position would be found in the budget.

“I’d feel better if we have a better sense of what the size of it is,” said Selectman Sean Connelly.