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Photo of Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr..

STATE SENATOR

Ted Kennedy, Jr.

Listening to You

Kicking Off a New Recycling Program

This week, I joined state officials and recycling advocates to launch a new campaign to increase recycling of plastic bags and wraps. As a Co-Chair of the Environment Committee, one of my most important jobs is improving access to recycling, particularly of environmentally damaging items like plastic waste. Plastic bags and wraps should not be placed in curbside recycling bins because the plastic film can cause significant problems with machinery at the recycling facility. Instead, plastic bags and wraps can be returned to approximately 200 local grocery and retail stores in the state.

labor bill

Grocers and retailers have begun to accept plastic bags such as grocery bags, newspaper bags, produce bags, bread bags, dry cleaning bags, and even zipper bags for recycling. They also accept plastic wraps from water bottle cases, diapers, bathroom tissue, and paper towels, as well as bubble wrap and shipping pillows. The plastic bags and wraps must be clean and dry and placed in storefront recycling bins. Plastic bags and wraps get recycled into products such as new grocery bags, benches, and decking.

There are a growing number of locations in which plastic bags and wraps can be recycled, but awareness of this program is still low. A recent survey showed that many Connecticut residents do not know where they can recycle plastic bags. For more information on what can be recycled and where, visit www.plasticfilmrecycling.org.

Protecting Our State from Toxic Herbicides

This week, I led passage from the Environment Committee of SB 754, a bill that prohibits the use of toxic pesticides along state highways. Herbicides are poisonous compounds designed to kill weeds and other unwanted plants. Herbicides become less effective over time, as weeds develop resistances and requiring the use of larger quantities and/or more toxic herbicides, which can cause threats to our environment and our health.

Glyphosate, the most commonly used herbicide, has been known to seep into soils and be carried by rainwater into rivers and waterways. One study found traces of glyphosate in 75 percent of all air and rainfall samples collected in 2002. Glyphosate is toxic to plants and any animals that consume it. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified glyphosate as a potential carcinogen, which has caused cancer in laboratory animals and shows potential to cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and lung cancer in humans. Glyphosate has also been linked to "colony collapse disorder," the phenomenon that has caused a worldwide drop in bee populations. Bee pollination is necessary for the production of nearly one third of crops grown in the United States. Without bee pollination, the United States will likely experience a serious food shortage and billions of dollars in financial losses.

Now that it has passed out of the Environment Committee, this bill moves to the full Senate for further consideration. As always, I want to hear from you if you have any thoughts about this or other legislative initiatives. You can call my office toll free at 1-800-842-1420 or send an email through my website.