Tag Archives: Westport transfer station

Give The Gift Of Food Scrap Recycling

Searching for a holiday gift for the family that has everything — including plenty of food?

How about Sustainable Westport’s food scrap starter kit?!

For just $25, you can give friends or neighbors a countertop container, roll of compostable bags, and a transportation container.

Hey: You can buy it for yourself too.

The food scrap recycling starter kit.

Earthplace is selling the kits Mondays through Fridays. Call 203-557-4400 for holiday hours.

During this busy season, Sustainable Westport volunteers even deliver the kits to local homes. Email ZeroWaste@SustainableWestport.org, or call 203-293-6320.

Of course, you don’t need the starter kit to use the transfer station drop-off site. Just bring your food scraps in a lidded container, and drop them in the bright green toter.

The food scraps recycling program is a smash. Since it began in July, Westporters have brought over 2 tons a month to the transfer station. November set a record with more than 4 tons, thanks to pumpkin recycling.

The Paparo family was the first to use the transfer station drop-off food scrap recycling site, when it opened in July.

The scraps are brought to an industrial composting facility. Unlike most home sites, animal-based products like bones, meat, cheese and fish (including shellfish shells) are accepted at the transfer station drop-off.

Two Westport-licensed haulers (Action Waste Solutions and Curbside Compost) accept all food scraps. Several tons a month are being picked up from homes. The cost is about $32 a month; the first month is free if you mention Sustainable Westport.

Food scrap recycling is important economically, as well as environmentally. Food scraps make up 20% of residential waste by weight. They’re heavy, wet and don’t burn well at the waste-to-energy incinerator where most of Westport’s solid waste goes. The cost of solid waste removal comes from our taxes.

Sustainable Westport’s goal is to divert from disposal 25% or more of residential food waste. That’s 38 tons of food scraps per month.

Even with “tons” of parties, there’s such to be plenty of scraps this holiday season. Happy composting!

(NOTE: Sustainable Westport’s food scrap starter kit is free for income-eligible residents. To learn more about composting options, meal planning and preservation, or how to help distribute food to food-insecure residents, click here. Hat tip: Pippa Bell Ader.)

Unsung Heroes #161

Alert — and ecologically conscious — “06880” reader Pippa Bell Ader writes:

The Sustainable Westport Zero Food Waste Challenge — with a goal of decreasing residential food waste by 25% or more — is off to a good start.

Each week the transfer station collects half a ton of food waste. It’s brought to an industrial composting facility, and made into compost.

Every Saturday since the initiative began in July, a group of committed volunteers has handed out food scrap recycling flyers and answered questions at the transfer station.

They were there at 7 a.m. in the heat of the summer. They did not leave until well after noon, after the gates closed. They did it all with smiles (behind their masks).

Greens Farms Elementary School 5th grade teacher Stacey Fowle hands out a flyer.

Now, in the fall, the volunteers keep giving up part of their weekend, because they know they make a difference. And they know it, because residents thank them for the work they do to make Westport a sustainable community.

Since many transfer station regulars have received the flyer, Zero Food Waste Challenge volunteer hours have been decreased. They now start at 8 a.m.

The lines — which sometimes stretched to the Post Road this summer — are rare, now that all transfer station parking spots are open.

Stacey Williams teams up with a transfer station employee.

So the Zero Food Waste educational focus will move to other locations and events, as opportunities become available. The team was scheduled to attend over 30 events and meetings this summer. COVID canceled them all.

Congratulations to all Zero Food Waste Challenge volunteers: Pippa Bell Ader, Emma Alcyone, Aileen Brill, John Ferencz, Matt Ferencz, Stacey Fowle, Laurie Goldberg, Matthew Longhitano, Julie McDonald, Dylan Michaels, Ashley Moran, Leslie Paparo, Henry Potter, Jessie Schwartz, Dawn Sullivan, Stacey Williams and Trevor Williams. You are our very helpful (and green) Unsung Heroes of the Week!

(For more information about the Zero Food Waste Challenge, click here. For a starter kit ($25; free if income-eligible) go to Earthplace (10 Woodside Lane) weekdays between noon and 4 p.m. To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

Matthew Ferencz assembles starter kits at Earthplace.

Roundup: Drive-In Movies; Food Scraps; Train Station Shuttle; Hole In The Wall Gang Camp; More


This morning, the Board of Selectmen approved the Remarkable Theater’s request to continue showing drive-in movies this summer, at the Imperial Avenue parking lot. So far, all 4 shows have been sold out

The very cool addition to Westport’s entertainment scene continues tomorrow (Thursday, July 9) with “Mamma Mia!” and Saturday (July 11), with “The Graduate.” The Dustin Hoffman classic is sponsored by Manna Toast. They offer a $20 movie box meal, which can be picked up at their kitchen behind Cycle Dynamics (near Carvel) that day before the film.

Three more films are set: “Life, Animated” (July 15), “Do the Right Thing” (July 16, in conjunction with TEAM Westport), and “Dazed and Confused” (July 18).

Tickets are now on sale for the 5 movies; click here (and do it quickly!). The parking lot opens at 8 p.m.; showtime is around 9.


Stay tuned for more drive-in movie news. The Remarkable Theater rocks Westport!

A food scraps recycling drop-off area is now open at the transfer station. Residents can bring all scraps, including meat products and bones.

All you need is a lidded container to collect and transport food scraps. Starter kits are also available at Earthplace for $25. They include a 2-gallon lidded countertop pail, 6-gallon transportation bin with lockable lid, and a roll of compostable bags.

It’s all part of Westport’s Zero Food Waste Challenge. For more information, including upcoming events, click here or email ZeroWaste@SustainableWestport.org.


Speaking of food: If you thought about planting an edible garden, but never quite started — it’s not too late!

On Monday (July 13, 7 to 8 p.m., Zoom), Wakeman Town Farm explores 8 veggies and herbs to plant now, to harvest and enjoy from late summer into fall.

The speaker is Kathy Oberman Tracy: WTF board member; Westport Garden Club member and plant sale chair; member of the Herb Society of America, and chef for Martha Stewart, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Click here to register. Suggested donation: $10.


On July 21 (7 to 9 p.m.), Westport Transit will hear public comment on the replacement of its 7 commuter shuttle routes with an on-demand group door-to-service to the Saugatuck and Greens Farms stations.

Passengers would use Norwalk Transit’s app, between 5:45 and 9:45 a.m., and 4 and 8 p.m.

This is different from the on-demand service that replaced the shuttle routes, due to COVID-19.

The hearing will be held remotely. To join, call 646-876-9923, then enter Meeting ID 883 3169 9715. To submit written testimony click here, email info@norwalktransit.com, or write Westport Transit commuter shuttle changes, 275 Wilson Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06854

For a map of the service area and additional information, click here or call 203-299-5164.


The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp has a strong connection to Westport. Our neighbor Paul Newman founded the summer program for seriously ill children in 1988. Plenty of Westporters volunteer at the Ashford, Connecticut facility. For many, it’s the highlight of their year.

This year, due to COVID-19, youngsters won’t enjoy that amazing experience. But organizers have created innovative ways to the camp’s magic to campers. Facebook Live interactive events like sing-alongs and story times, care packages (with games, arts and crafts projects, and more), and Zoom home and hospital bedside visits are a few of the ways to help kids battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

One of the camp’s staunchest friends is Westporter Adam Vengrow. He’s organized a push-up fundraiser. For just $25, anyone can join his team. You can donate too without doing any push-ups.

Click here for details. For more information, email a.vengrow@ven2port.com.


And finally … Beck turns 50 years old today. He is anything but a loser.

Unsung Hero #135

For 40 years, Ruth Kuhn and her husband made sure that before tossing garbage bags into the transfer station pit, their keys were safely stashed in their pockets.

For 40 years, the precaution worked.

Last week though, Ruth was distracted. The instant it happened, she watched helplessly as her key chain — holding 4 car keys, house keys, garage key and mini-garage door opener — sailed all the way down, with her trash, into the dump far below.

She heard it all land. And then there was silence.

She feared all her keys were gone, forever.

The dump.

Other people came by. Unaware of her plight, they tossed their garbage onto hers.

Then a wonderful thing happened. Workers Mark Meyer and Buddy Valiante, and John Davis of Malone’s Refuse, noticed her distress.

Without hesitation, they offered to help. While easing her anxiety with good-natured reassurance and support, they used long-hooked poles — from “seemingly out of nowhere” — to locate her keys. They extracted them, then returned them to Ruth.

“For Bud’s steady assistance, and to Mark and John who made it happen, I extend my very deepest appreciations,” Ruth says.

“And not only for what each of you did, but as well for who you are. It would have been so easy to walk away. I owe you each a very considerable debt of gratitude.”

Bud, Mark and John would probably say “it’s all part of a day’s work.”

It wasn’t. It’s part of what makes our town a community.

Thanks, guys. You are Ruth’s — and our — Unsung Heroes of the week.

Buddy Valiante in 2018, helping at the transfer station. (Photo/Cindy Mindell)

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

Photo Challenge #246

There are a few places in Westport that nearly everyone goes to, at one time or other:

Compo Beach. Town Hall. And the transfer station (aka “the dump”).

So I’m surprised that only a few people recognized it, as Jo Shields’ Photo Challenge last week.

To be fair, her image did not really show the recycling facility. Instead, it was the sunflowers in front.

But when you’re there on a Saturday morning, i-n-c-h-i-n-g along, you get a good look at them. (Click here for the photo.)

Bob Grant, John Kantor, Krystof Bondar, Carol Hanks and Jonathan McClure correctly identified the site. Can they repeat this week?

If you know where in Westport you would see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Mark Jacobs)

September 21 Will Be A Hazardous Day

If you’re a typical Westporter, you’ve got stuff lying around your house.

You know: basic hazardous waste.

If you’d like to get rid of it 🙂 but have no idea how or where: Read on.

On Saturday, September 21, 2019, the Public Works Department holds its annual Household Hazardous Waste Day. The time is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; the site is the Westport/Weston Health District, 180 Bayberry Lane.

Better yet: It’s free.

As a regional program, it’s also open to residents of Weston, Wilton, Norwalk, New Canaan, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich.

Many items used around the house are considered household hazardous wastes, because they may contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable or reactive ingredients. For example, check your:

Garage:  Gasoline, kerosene, mineral spirits, spray paint, paint strippers, paint thinners, solvents, stains, turpentine, varnishes, wood preservatives, degreasers, etc.  NOTE: All paints, stains, motor oil, antifreeze, batteries and light bulbs must be recycled at the transfer station (see below).

Garden shed:  Fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, etc.

General household:  Bleach, charcoal lighter, cleaning chemicals, drain cleaners, flammable liquids, mercury thermometers, moth balls, pet flea shampoos, rug shampoos, spot removers, art supplies and paints, etc.

Before bringing hazardous household items to the collection site:

  • Make sure items are clearly labeled. NEVER MIX CHEMICALS.  Incompatible products may react, ignite or explode, and mixed waste may become not be recyclable.
  • Keep products in original labeled container.
  • Place leaky containers in clear plastic bags.
  • Tighten lids of all containers, and pack items in sturdy cardboard boxes lined with newspaper.
  • Put boxes in the trunk or in the back of the vehicle away from passengers.
  • Leave pets and children home when bringing hazardous materials for collection.
  • Keep your windows open and drive directly to the collection site.
  • Do not smoke or eat while handling hazardous materials.

REMEMBER: Paint cannot be accepted. Westport residents should bring latex and oil-based paints, primer, stain, sealer, varnish and shellac to the Westport transfer station (Sherwood Island Connector, weekdays, 7  a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 7 am to 12 noon).

The following items are also not acceptable at Household Hazardous Waste Day:  ammunition, flares, and commercial hazardous waste 🙁

Questions? Call the Public Works Department: 203-341-1793.

Unsung Hero #59

Whenever Cindy Mindell stops by the transfer station, she hopes Bart “Bud” Valiante is there.

The array of trash choices — recyclables, household, electronics, metals, bulbs and batteries, etc. — is dizzying.

But, Cindy, says, “Bud is always cheerful, professional and helpful. He offers to carry stuff from my car, walks me to the correct disposal area, and explains why a particular material or item is or is not recyclable.

“He even puts my conscience at ease and expands my eco-knowledge by describing how non-recyclables are repurposed through burning at a waste-to-energy power plant.”

Bart “Bud” Valiante, helping at the transfer station as always. (Photo/Cindy Mindell)

That’s not all. The other day, Cindy told Bud that she was sleep-deprived and panicking because she was in the middle of a move.

He offered to haul items to Goodwill and the transfer station at no cost. He said he’s always happy to help a neighbor in need — and regularly does things like that before and after work.

Cindy did not take Bud up on his kind offer.

But, she says, “No matter how busy he might be when I arrive, he always stops to answer my questions and make sure that I put everything in its proper place.

“For that, for his dedication to his job and the environment, and his generosity of time and spirit, he is definitely an Unsung Hero.”

Dumping On Drivers

The Sherwood Island transfer station — aka “the dump” — is many things.

It’s a place to dispose of unwanted stuff — furniture, electronics, yard waste — in an environmentally sound way.

It’s a place to meet other Westporters. It’s a place for politicians to troll for votes.

It’s also become a place where the informal rules of social conduct are being, well, trashed.

Alert “06880” reader Steve Axthelm writes of this recent trend:

Instead of taking the next available space and keeping the line moving quickly on Saturdays, some drivers now ignore multiple available spots. They block the lane, waiting for the “perfect” spot.

Maybe we should have a reservation system, so you can be sure to cozy up to the metal dumping area, or save those 10 steps when recycling your cardboard.

But think how much time you save, on your way to your entitled parking spot at Starbucks!

Drivers wait for the “perfect” spot, instead of pulling in to the first available one. (Photo/Steve Axthelm)

Gotta Hand It To Our Dump

It may not be the only one of its kind in the country, but Westport’s dump could be the most interesting since Arlo Guthrie and Alice visited theirs that famous Thanksgiving years ago.

Consider:

  • We don’t call it a dump. It’s a “transfer station.”
  • Sure, there are trucks and Suburbans. But there are also plenty of Range Rovers, BMWs and Mercedeses, plus the occasional Tesla, Maserati, Rolls and Bentley. All are driven by “normal” Westporters, trash in tow.
  • It may be the only dump transfer station that’s a regular stop for politicians stumping for votes, and non-profits to hand out flyers.

Now, add one more “only in Westport.” Is there another one anywhere with a hand sanitizing pump — and marketing materials?

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

 

 

 

Dumping On The Dump

Alert “06880” reader/frequent transfer station visitor Terry Brannigan writes:

We all know that the “transfer station” is the heart and soul of this town. As part of my social ambition, I try to get there on a regular basis. The other day I was dropping off trash from my parents’ house. Once again I was confounded by the rules.

Why is it that Westport taxpayers have to hump our heavy (and hopefully well separated) trash by hand to the side entrance and throw it over the wall, but commercial waste collectors and random contractors get to drive up to the hopper and empty their trucks?

I have a feeling town taxpayers are just as capable of driving up, dumping their trash and not falling in as the commercial truck drivers, landscapers, remodelers and other service professionals. Heck, we managed to make it to Westport.  

At the dump.

At the dump.

This is a critical issue for the “06880” nation to solve.  Remember the old transfer station by police headquarters? That crusher looked like a mechanical monster, yet we could drive up and dump. I don’t recall anyone ever falling into that hopper.  

It drives me nuts watching the guys who get paid to collect trash (in trucks often with non-Westport logos) drive up, while the people who pay them (and the taxes of the town) schlep heavy bags and boxes over to the great wall and hoist them over by hand.

What are your thoughts on the transfer station? Any suggestions? Click “Comments” — and please, use your full, real name.