Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

ConnPIRG is building public support for commonsense solutions to Connecticut's waste problems, including enforcing recycling laws and eliminating wasteful packaging.

The Zero Waste Solution

It’s time to modernize recycling in Connecticut.

Connecticut burns more trash per person than any other state in the country, generating half a million tons of toxic ash every year. We're quickly running out of landfill space for incinerator ash and increasingly shipping it out state.

Recognizing this, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has set a goal of keeping 58% of our trash out of landfills and incinerators — but Connecticut has been stuck at 30% for the last decade.

The good news is, we have the tools to get to 58% and even further to zero waste.  Communities like Nantucket are already keeping more than 90% of their trash out of landfills and incinerators and Connecticut towns like Darien and South Windsor are over 50%.

In order to get on the path to zero waste, we need to reduce the amount of resources we use, reuse what we can, and recycle the rest. Over the past two years Governor Malloy has created a Modernizing Recycling Working Group and a Resources Recovery Task Force to explore these issues.  Now we are calling on the state to implement commonsense solutions, including:

  • Updating the Bottle Bill to include juice containers
  • Enforcing existing recycling mandates
  • Removing organics from the waste stream
  • Resisting attempts to incentivize incineration

Learn what the General Assembly is doing about these solutions with our Legislative Scorecard. 

Issue updates

News Release | U.S.PIRG | Consumer Protection

Strong National Payday Rule Could Save Consumers Billions

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its draft high cost small dollar lending (payday and auto title) loan rule for public comment. 

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LATimes: Obama's consumer protection legacy defined by aggressive agency

[This weekend, the Los Angele Times chronicled President Obama's consumer protection record, with heavy emphasis on the history and fight over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB):]

"[...] Launched in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the bureau is one of President Obama’s signature accomplishments. [...] “I think you have to consider him a tremendous president for consumers,” said Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group."

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

As CFPB Escalates Drive Toward Protections, Study Finds CFPB Enforcement Works | Ed Mierzwinski

This month the CFPB issued its proposed rule prohibiting class action bans in small-print mandatory arbitration clauses; in June it is expected to release its high-cost small dollar lending (payday and auto title loan) proposed rule. Meanwhile, as CFPB's industry opponents hide behind astroturf front groups and Congressional opponents use backdoor attacks, a law professor has released a major report finding that "from its inception [in 2011] through 2015 the agency had a 122-and-0 track record in its publicly announced enforcement actions" and that 93% (over $10.5 billion) of funds recovered for consumers have been for deceptive practices -- "[f]ar from a novel legal theory."

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

You might not know this about overdraft fees | Kathryn Lee

Did your bank sell you on the idea that it’s embarrassing for you to have your debit card declined for a $3 cup of coffee, and that you should pay them $35 each time for “overdraft protection”? Those big fees are what’s embarrassing. Unless you say yes to allow fees, you cannot be charged for over-drafting your debit card.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Our new "CFPB Can Help" video is live | Ed Mierzwinski

Please like and share our new video short (it's less than a minute) letting consumers know how the "CFPB can help." The CFPB, of course, is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, established as part of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

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Media Hit | Solid Waste

Moving Connecticut toward zero waste

Connecticut made a conscious decision 40 years ago to transform its waste management by phasing out landfills and investing in incinerators.  However, the decision we face today is not between burning or burying our waste -- it is between seeing the material we throw away as waste, or seeing it as material with a market value if handled properly.  A new bill introduced by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy gives us the opportunity to transform again,  from managing waste to managing material, moving us closer to zero waste.

> Keep Reading
News Release | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Spirit Is Most Complained-About Airline

Spirit Airlines passengers are most likely to complain about their experience, according to a report released today by the ConnPIRG Education Fund. Among major airlines, Spirit generates the most complaints for its size and generates an increasing number of complaints each year. Other most-complained about firms include Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines.

> Keep Reading
News Release | ConnPIRG | Solid Waste

ConnPIRG Testimony on Governor's Bill 27

ConnPIRG's testimony today in support of Governor's Bill 27, before the Environment Committee

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Media Hit | Solid Waste

Improving recycling in Connecticut

Governor’s S.B. No. 27 addresses several goals including a new solid waste management plan, setting a timeline to “repurpose” the Hartford incinerator, and create what will be known as the Connecticut Recycling Foundation

> Keep Reading
News Release | ConnPIRG | Solid Waste

Environment Committee Hears Testimony on Bottle Bill Update at Public Hearing

On Friday February 28th, the Environment Committee heard testimony on a proposed bill to update Connecticut's Bottle Bill, Senate Bill No. 69.  ConnPIRG supports the update to our state's most effective recycling program.

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Tax Shell Game: What Do Tax Dodgers Cost You?

Many corporations operating in the United States funnel money through offshore tax havens in order to avoid paying billions in U.S. taxes. In fact, an independent study found that nearly two-thirds of corporations pay no taxes at all. Goldman Sachs, which received a $10 billion taxpayer bailout, managed to get their effective tax rate down to one percent by utilizing maneuvers they describe as “changes in geographic earnings mix.”

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Trouble in Toyland: the 24th Annual Survey of Toy Safety

The 2009 Trouble in Toyland report is the 24th annual Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) survey of toy safety. This report provides safety guidelines for parents when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards.

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Trouble In Toyland: The 23rd Annual Survey of Toy Safety

The 2008 "Trouble in Toyland" report is the 23rd annual Connecticut Public Interest Research Group (ConnPIRG) survey of toy safety. This report provides safety guidelines for parents when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards.

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The Campus Credit Card Trap

This study is an in-person survey of a diverse sample of over 1500 students, primarily single undergraduates, at 40 large and small schools and universities in 14 states around the country conducted between October 2007 and February 2008. It analyzes how students pay for their education, how many use and how they use their credit cards and, finally, their attitudes toward credit card marketing on campus and whether or not they support principles to rein in credit card marketing on campus.

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Mixed Signals: How TV Retailers Mislead Consumers on the Digital Television (DTV) Transition

One year from now 22 million Americans who rely on free over-the-air analog broadcasting will be at risk of losing access to TV. On February 17, 2009, analog televisions that receive over-the-air signals will go dark, unless they are retrofitted with digital converter boxes. For many Americans who are hearing about the transition for the first time, information about the change comes from electronic store retailers, where consumers ask what is necessary to maintain TV reception-- a primary source for news, information and entertainment.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

20 groups call on FTC to protect consumers and prohibit the sale of certified used cars with unrepaired safety recalls | Deirdre Cummings

ConnPIRG joined more than 20 consumer organizations in calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prohibit the practice of selling “certified” used cars with unrepaired safety recalls. The formal comments were in response to the FTC's proposed settlements with General Motors, Jim Koons Management, and Lithia Motors. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

100+ Groups Oppose Provisions That Threaten Public Protections | Mike Litt

The White House is expected to release its fiscal year 2017 budget proposal tomorrow. U.S. PIRG and various state PIRGs joined a coalition of more than 100 groups that sent the following letter calling on President Barack Obama and all 535 members of Congress to oppose any federal appropriations bill that contains ideological policy riders. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Make VW Pay

House Tees Up VW Bailout and Other Attacks on Public Protections, Consumer Rights | Ed Mierzwinski

(Updated 8 January to add vote results): You've probably heard that the House is soon planning to again repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). That bill will certainly be vetoed. But the House has other anti-consumer, anti-environmental bills scheduled for floor action this week and next. The bills take aim at agency health, financial and safety regulations and also consumer rights to band together as a class to take their grievances against corporate wrongdoers to court. That last bill would immunize Volkswagen from having to compensate VW Diesel owners for being deceptively sold cars designed to "defeat" air pollution requirements.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

30 Years of "Trouble in Toyland," 30 Years of Safety Improvements | Anna Low-Beer

Every year, U.S. PIRG Education Fund releases Trouble in Toyland, a report on toy safety which examines toys bought at major national retailers, looking for safety hazards including toxic toys, choking hazards, labeling violations, powerful magnets, and excessibely loud toys. We continue to find these hazards on store shelves, which indicates the need for continued vigilance and adequate enforcement of safety regulations. But despite lingering dangers, in the last 30 years, we've come a long way in terms of both policy and compliance with standards.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

As CFPB Advances Consumer Protection, Attacks on CFPB Escalate | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the CFPB took a major step toward establishing a regulation restricting the use of forced arbitration clauses in consumer financial contracts, which give companies what the CFPB's director said was a "free pass from being held accountable by their customers." Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, powerful bank interests escalated their campaign to defund and defang the bureau, because it works for consumers, not them.

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