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Pippa Bell Ader from the Sustainable Westport Task Force organized source separation of food waste for recycling with Curbside Compost.

Featured Article

Zero Waste Westport

Smart, Simple Ways You Can Help Avoid Waste

Article by Analiese Paik, Founder/CEO,

Originally published in Westport Lifestyle

Fact: Westport’s household waste does not go into a landfill; it’s trucked to an incinerator where it’s burned and the leftover ash is landfilled.

Burning our garbage is an unsustainable and increasingly controversial practice.  Waste-to-energy facilities are expensive, negatively impact human and environmental health, and are typically located in distressed communities including Bridgeport and Hartford.

Fact: The recycling you rinse and place in the blue bin? Some of that is being landfilled in other states at great expense, like contaminated glass and hard to recycle plastics.

Only 9% of plastic is recycled.The other 91% of plastic waste pollutes the soil and water or is burned with the rest of our garbage which pollutes our environment, negatively impacts public health and contributes to the climate crisis.

Plastic is made from petroleum plus additives for a specific product or packaging use and it is on track to become the #1 end use of fossil fuels.

Petroleum is refined and processed at petrochemical plants that pollute our world and create environmental justice communities (a community disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards) whose residents are sickened by the toxic fumes. Plastic is often a convenience, especially single-use items that can be easily replaced with something reusable and durable.

Westport Is a Zero Waste Leader

The Westport RTM passed an ordinance in 2019 that banned single-use plastics and styrofoam (polystyrene) at food service establishments, the strictest ordinance in the state and the east coast. Westport RTM member Andrew Colabella says it is serving as a model for other towns in Connecticut to emulate. His call to “Reduce, Reuse, Refuse” reinforces the central role consumers play in moving the waste needle quickly downward.

Zero Single Use Plastic Check List

Here’s a handy check list to guide your zero plastic waste efforts at home, at work, at school, at play and on the road. The goal is to replace all single-use plastic with reusable or compostable items. Paper is better than plastic, reusables are even better.

  • Stop buying or accepting plastic bottled water. Plastic does not biodegrade the way food and paper do: it breaks down into micro- and nano-plastics that persist in the environment and release toxic chemicals. Fish, turtles, seals, whales and birds think it’s food and eating it causes digestive system blockage and eventual death. Refuse bottled water and bring metal water thermos everywhere you go. Be a super zero waste hero by carrying your own coffee thermos too.
  • Don’t accept plastic bags, even produce and dry cleaning bags. Bring  reusable shopping bags everywhere you go, even the pharmacy and clothing stores, and keep a few in your trunk and a collapsible one in your pocket book or backpack. Stuff a few reusable mesh produce bags in a designated food shopping bag to skip all plastic and ask your dry cleaner to offer a reusable garment bag program.
  • Skip the straw. Request “no straw” when you placing a beverage order, otherwise you might get one by default. Some are made from paper, others from corn which are better than plastic, but if you don’t need one please skip the straw to go zero waste.
  • Bring reusable cutlery to events and takeout containers to restaurants. Bring your own utensils wrapped in a cloth napkin to large functions where plastic is plentiful and pack a Glasslock or Pyrex container in your own bag when ordering take-out or packing up leftovers.
  • Stop using single use food storage bags and plastic food wrap. Replace single-use zip close storage bags with reusable ones made from recycled plastic bottles or use Pyrex or Glasslock containers and metal containers instead. Buy washable, reusable beeswax food wrap to go zero waste.
  • Buy loose rather than plastic packaged produce and fruit. Skip the plastic packaging found in stores and shop from farms and farmers markets or farm-to-door services. Buy in bulk whenever you can and bring your own containers to fill and reuse.
  • Reduce waste and divert anything of value from your household waste. Recycle all used textiles - even ones you think aren’t usable - at the town transfer station or school collection boxes.
  • Eat more of what you buy, buy less overall, donate edible food and compost food waste to help nature complete the carbon cycle and sequester carbon in the soil.
  • Stop throwing things out! Donate, upcycle, recycle, repurpose, repair and rework instead.

Visit to stay informed, inspired and empowered to take action.

  • Pippa Bell Ader from the Sustainable Westport Task Force organized source separation of food waste for recycling with Curbside Compost.
  • Reusable shopping bag at the farmer's market.