HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – In less than a month, the trash you’re throwing away may no longer be staying in Connecticut. MIRA’s Hartford waste facility is set to close in July.
For over 30 years, one-third of the state’s trash has ended up at MIRA’s renewable energy facility in Hartford.
“Put it at the end of your driveway, and as long as it goes away, people forget about it,” said Chris Shepard, MIRA Environmental Compliance Manager.
MIRA took News 8 inside their facility which is still taking in nearly one million tons of trash.
“It goes through one to twelve shredders to get it down to that size,” Shepard said.
In the master control room, they keep an eye on what goes through the shredders that break the waste down to generate electricity. With all the wear and tear, and no funding for renovations, this trash-to-energy effort must soon come to an end.
Hundreds of garbage trucks come in through there and drive over to the tip line where their loads are dropped off. This process comes to an end next month when MIRA ends its operation. All of the trash is now going out of state.
MIRA President Tom Kirk said that the waste will now be going to MEGA landfills in Pennsylvania after they close in mid-July, which is a cheaper option but environmentally discouraging.
“Almost none of our garbage ended up in a landfill. We either recycled it or we converted it to renewable energy,” Kirk said.
“Right now, the market can absorb the amount of trash being produced. Unfortunately, it’s not disposing that rash in the most environmentally sustainable way. It’s sending that trash to out-of-state landfills that should bother all of us,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.
Hartford selected Murphy Road Recycling to replace MIRA, a short-term solution Bronin says will save taxpayers money. There is an agreement that a long-term solution for Connecticut waste is crucial, with garbage disposal getting more costly.
“And it will likely see an increase as the number of landfills decrease in the northeast and distance we have to take garbage increases, and that is impacted by the cost of fuel, road taxes, etc.,” Kirk said.
Connecticut produces 2.4 million tons of trash per year. Kirk says every individual reducing their waste is more important than ever to keep trash removal costs down.