Trumbull group collects takeout containers to help feed the needy

An example of some of the takeout containers being collected by Sustainable Trumbull to support Fridgeport in Bridgeport.

An example of some of the takeout containers being collected by Sustainable Trumbull to support Fridgeport in Bridgeport.

Contributed/Mari Jackson

TRUMBULL — Mari Jackson knows that many people probably have black plastic takeout containers from their favorite eatery stacked around their kitchen.

For those who don't want to throw out them out, Jackson, a member of Sustainable Trumbull, has some advice — don't stuff them in the curbside recycling bin.

"If people are willing to wash and reuse them that’s great. But if people are just sticking them in the recycling bin, that's a contaminant," Jackson said.

She said Connecticut recycling facilities are no longer accepting the black plastic, as the scanners used by their machinery don't see black. That's part of the reason why Sustainable Trumbull, a citizen-led group focused on environmental sustainability, is now accepting them at its monthly recycling drives.

Jackson said the agency has even found a good home for the containers. Sustainable Trumbull has collaborated with Fridgeport, a community refrigerator that collects food and other items for those who need them. Fridgeport is accepting the containers and using them to store and deliver meals to the people it serves.

"We’re addressing this issue from a recycling perspective and they’re in need from a food security perspective and we can team up and help each other," Jackson said.

Fridgeport has community fridges all over the state said Reginald St. Fortcolin, the organization's founder. The Fridgeport in Bridgeport, where Sustainable Trumbull is donating its containers, serves about 175 people a day, St Fortcolin said.

The containers are using to break down larger donations of food into more manageable servings, he said.

"It helps continue the no waste movement," St. Fortcolin said.

Jackson said Sustainable Trumbull first started collecting the takeout containers at last month's recycling drive. She said she received about three paper bags full of them.

The drive happens on the second Saturday of every month at Trumbull High School. The next one runs from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 12. Jackson said the drive largely collects items that aren't accepted by curbside recycling and finds a home for them.

Items accepted at the drive include any brand of used oral care products (toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, flossers/floss containers); beauty packaging such as small makeup containers, tubes, etc, soap dispenser pumps (the bottles can be recycled); razors, used pens/markers, old ink cartridges, plastic flower pots, used phone cases, textiles, and plastic bags/wrap. Snack and chip bags are now being accepted as well.

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