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Connecticut

Commercial Organics Recycling Law Compliance Guide

An Estimation Guide for Connecticut Organic Waste Compliance

The Connecticut Commercial Organics Recycling Law stipulates that from January 1, 2022, commercial entities meeting specific criteria must comply with the law.

This includes businesses generating over 26 tons per year of source-separated organic materials (SSOM) and situated within 20 miles of an authorized composting facility (CT DEEP).

Industry data compiled by CET

Industry data curated by CET offers invaluable guidance for Connecticut businesses lacking SSOM diversion programs. This data serves as a foundational tool for assessing compliance with the law, particularly concerning the SSOM threshold of 26 tons annually. Updated last in January 2023, this resource undergoes continuous refinement to reflect emerging trends and insights, ensuring businesses stay informed and compliant.

Sector-Specific Estimation Methods

Assisted living facilities, colleges, universities, and corporate cafeterias employ tailored estimation methods, considering factors like meals served and employees, to ensure accurate SSOM estimation across diverse sectors.

Adaptive Methodology for Varied Sectors

Adaptable SSOM estimation methods ensure accuracy across sectors like schools, hospitals, and restaurants, aiding compliance and waste management.

What is the definition of “source separated organic material”?

“The statutory definition of ‘Source-Separated Organic Material’ means organic material, including, but not limited to, food scraps, food processing residue and soiled or unrecyclable paper that has been separated at the point or source of generation from nonorganic material.”  

The acronym commonly used for this is SSOM, or SSO (Source Separated Organics)” (CT DEEP).

General Conversions

1 Ton = 2,000 lbs.

Commercial-Industrial Waste

1 yd3 (cubic yard) = 250 to 300 lbs.

Food Scraps

55 gallons = 200 to 450 lbs.

Food scraps mixed with food-soiled paper may fall on the lower end of the range provided above. Data source: EPA’s standard volume-to-weight conversions.

ConceptAverageMeasurementMaterial
Meals Served0.6lbs/mealsSSOM
Food Served20% of food served by weightSSOM
Beds11.8lbs/bed/daySSOM
Employees2475lbs/employee/yearSSOM
Conversion table for assisted living facilities

If you serve 1,667 meals in one week, then:

0.6 lbs/meal * 1,667 meals served/week = 1,000 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM in one week

If you serve 5,000 lbs of food in one week, then:

20% of food served * 5,000 lbs served/week = 1,000 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM in one week

If you have 80 beds, then:

1.8 lbs/bed/day * 80 beds = 144 lbs/day
144 lbs/day * 7 days/week = 1,008 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you have 110 employees, then:

475 lbs/employee/year * 110 employees = 52,250 lbs/year
52,250 lbs/year ÷ 52 weeks/year = 1,004 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per weekk

1 This metric uses beds as a proxy to account for all food waste generated across the nursing home by residents, staff, and visitors.
2 This metric uses the equivalent number of full-time employees as a proxy to account for all food waste generated across the nursing home by residents, staff, and visitors.
ConceptAverageMeasurementMaterial
Meals Served0.35lbs/mealsSSOM
Students[Residential]141.75lbs/student/yearSSOM
Students[Non-Residential]37.8lbs/student/yearSSOM
Conversion table for collages & universities

If you have 212 students living on campus, then:

141.75 lbs/student/year * 212 residential students = 30,051 lbs/year
30,051 lbs/year ÷ 30 weeks/year = 1,002 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you have 800 students living off campus, then:

37.8 lbs/student/year * 800 non-residential students = 30,240 lbs/year
30,240 lbs/year ÷ 30 weeks/year = 1,008 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

Note: The equations based on number of students (above) assume a steady level of food consumption over a 30-week academic year. If this is not the case at your institution, the number of weeks should be adjusted to reflect your operations.
1 This metric assumes 405 meals per residential student per year.
2 This metric assumes 108 meals per non-residential student per year.
ConceptAverageMeasurementMaterial
Meals Served10.625lbs/mealsSSOM
Conversion table for corporate cafeterias

If you serve 1,600 meals in one week, then:

0.625 lbs/meal * 1,600 meals served/week = 1,000 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

0.625 lbs/meal is the median of EPA Corporate Cafeterias average estimate (range 0.5-0.75 lbs/meal).
ConceptAverageMeasurementMaterial
Inmates1lbs/inmate/daySSOM
Disposed Waste130% of total generated waste by weight
Conversion table for correctional facilities

If you house 143 inmates, then:

1 lbs/meal * 143 inmates = 143 lbs/day
143 lbs/day * 7 days/week = 1,001 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you fill 1 trash dumpster at 8 cubic yards twice per week, then:

250 lbs1/yd3 * (1 trash dumpster * 8 yd3/trash dumpster * 2 pickups/week) = 4,000 lbs of total disposed waste/week
4,000 lbs/week * 30% of total waste = 1,200 lbs/week = 0.6 ton of SSOM in one week

1The equation based on weight of disposed waste assumes a weight of 250 lbs/yd3 waste. It is the lower range of the EPA’s standard conversion factor for uncompacted mixed MSW (residential, institutional, commercial): 1 yd3 mixed MSW = 250 to 300 lbs. You may choose to change this number to best represent your operations.

Note: CET now provides separate per-student estimates for elementary, middle, and high schools based on data from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. The elementary and middle school estimates are higher than the previous 0.5 lbs/student/week metric. Changes in the National School Lunch Program, shorter lunch periods, and more frequent breakfast offerings in classrooms have led to increased SSOM, especially in elementary schools. Consider factors like culinary education programs, centralized kitchens, and the percentage of students receiving school lunch, as they may influence SSOM levels.

ConceptAverageMeasurementMaterial
Students [Elementary School]1.13lbs/student/weekSSOM
Students [Middle School]0.73lbs/student/weekSSOM
Students [High School]0.35lbs/student/weekSSOM
Disposed Waste145% of disposed waste by weightSSOM
Conversion table for elementary & secondary schools

If you have 885 elementary school students, then:

1.13 lbs/student/week * 885 students = 1,000 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you have 1,370 middle school students, then:

0.73 lbs/student/week * 1,370 students = 1,000 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you have 2,860 high school students, then:

0.35 lbs/student/week * 2,860 students = 1,001 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you fill 1 trash dumpster at 10 cubic yards 1 time per week, then:

2501 lbs/yd3 * (1 trash dumpster * 10 yd3/trash dumpster * 1 pickup/week) = 2,500 lbs of total disposed waste/week
2,500 lbs * 45% of total waste = 1,125 lbs/week = 0.6 ton of SSOM in one week

 1 The equation based on weight of disposed waste assumes a weight of 250 lbs/yd3 waste. It is the lower range of the EPA’s standard conversion factor for uncompacted mixed MSW (residential, institutional, commercial): 1 yd3 mixed MSW = 250 to 300 lbs. You may choose to change this number to best represent your operations.
ConceptAverageMeasurementMaterial
Meals Served0.6lbs/mealsSSOM
Food Served30% of food served by weightSSOM
Beds13.42lbs/bed/daySSOM
Employees2290lbs/employee/yearSSOM
Conversion table for hospitals

If you serve 1,667 meals in one week, then:

0.6 lbs/meal * 1,667 meals served/week = 1,000 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM in one week

If you serve 3,333 lbs of food in one week, then:

30% of food served * 3,333 lbs served/week = 1,000 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM in one week

If you have 42 beds, then:

3.42 lbs/bed/day * 42 beds = 144 lbs/day
144 lbs/day * 7 days/week = 1,008 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you have 180 full-time employees, then:

290 lbs/employee/year * 180 employees = 52,200 lbs/year
52,200 lbs/year ÷ 52 weeks/year = 1,004 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

1 This metric uses beds as a proxy to account for all food waste generated across the hospital by patients, staff, and visitors. 
2 290 lbs/employee/year is CalRecycle’s 2014 estimate. This metric uses the equivalent number of full-time employees for the entire hospital as a proxy to account for all food waste generated across the hospital by patients, staff, and visitors.
ConceptAverageMeasurementMaterial
Guests1lbs/person/daySSOM
Rooms345.64lbs/room/yearSSOM
Disposed Waste136% of disposed waste by weightSSOM
Employees21,305lbs/employee/yearSSOM
Conversion table for lodging & hotels

If you have 143 guests per day, then:

1 lbs/guest/day * 143 guests = 143 lbs/day
143 lbs/day * 7 days/week = 1,001 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you have 150 guest rooms, then:

345.64 lbs/room/year * 150 rooms = 51,846 lbs/year
51,846 lbs/year ÷ 52 weeks/year = 997 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you fill 1 trash dumpster at 6 cubic yards two times per week, then:

2501 lbs/yd3 * (1 trash dumpster * 6 yd3/trash dumpster * 2 pickups/week) = 3,000 lbs of total disposed waste/week
3,000 lbs * 36% of total waste = 1,080 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM in one week

If you have 40 employees, then:

1,305 lbs/employee/year * 40 employees = 52,200 lbs/year
52,200 lbs/year ÷ 52 weeks/year = 1,004 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

1 The equation based on weight of disposed waste assumes a weight of 250 lbs/yd3 waste. It is the lower range of the EPA’s standard conversion factor for uncompacted mixed MSW (residential, institutional, commercial): 1 yd3 mixed MSW = 250 to 300 lbs. You may choose to change this number to best represent your operations.
2 This metric uses the equivalent number of full-time employees for the entire hotel as a proxy to account for all food waste generated across the hotel by staff, guests, and other patrons.
Tip: The Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) has developed a Green Lodging Calculator that estimates environmental benefits and financial savings from various sustainable practices tailored to the hospitality industry.
ConceptAverageMeasurementMaterial
Meals Served [Full-Service]1lbs/mealSSOM
Meals Served [Limited-Service]0.5lbs/mealSSOM
Employees [Full-Service]3,000lbs/employee/yearSSOM
Employees [Limited-Service]2,200lbs/employee/yearSSOM
Disposed Waste[Full-Service]66% of disposed waste by weightSSOM
Disposed Waste1 [Limited-Service]51% of disposed waste by weightSSOM
Conversion table for restaurants

If you are a full-service restaurant serving 1,000 meals in one week, then:

1 lbs/meal * 1,000 meals served/week = 1,000 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you are a limited-service restaurant serving 2,000 meals in one week, then:

0.5 lbs/meal * 2,000 meals served/week = 1,000 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you are a full-service restaurant with 17 employees, then:

3,000 lbs/employee/year * 17 full-time employees = 51,000 lbs SSOM generated/year
51,000 lbs/year ÷ 52 weeks/year = 981 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you are a limited-service restaurant with 24 employees, then:

2,200 lbs/employee/year * 24 full-time employees = 52,800 lbs SSOM generated/year
52,800 lbs/year ÷ 52 weeks/year = 1,015 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you are a full-service restaurant and fill 1 trash dumpster at 6 cubic yards 1 time per week, then:

2501 lbs/yd* (1 trash dumpster * 6 yd3/trash dumpster * 1 pickup/week) = 1,500 lbs of total disposed waste/week
1,500 lbs * 66% of total waste = 990 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM in one week

If you are a fast-food restaurant and fill 1 trash dumpster at 8 cubic yards 1 time per week, then:

2501 lbs/yd3 * (1 trash dumpster * 8 yd3/trash dumpster * 1 pickup/week) = 2,000 lbs of total disposed waste/week
2,000 lbs * 51% of total waste = 1,020 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM in one week

1 The equation based on weight of disposed waste assumes a weight of 250 lbs/yd3 waste. It is the lower range of the EPA’s standard conversion factor for uncompacted mixed MSW (residential, institutional, commercial): 1 yd3 mixed MSW = 250 to 300 lbs. You may choose to change this number to best represent your operations.
ConceptAverageMeasurementMaterial
Full-Time Employees3,000lbs/employee/yrSSOM
Disposed Waste163% of disposed waste by weightSSOM
Conversion table for supermarkets & groceries

If you have 17 full-time employees, then:

3,000 lbs/employee/year * 17 full-time employees = 51,000 lbs SSOM generated/year
51,000 lbs/year ÷ 52 weeks/year = 981 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you fill 1 trash dumpster at 8 cubic yards 1 time per week, then:

2501 lbs/yd3 (1 trash dumpster * 8 yd3/trash dumpster * 1 pickup/week) = 2,000 lbs of total disposed waste/week
2,000 lbs * 63% of total waste = 1,260 lbs/week = 0.6 ton of SSOM in one week

1 The equation based on weight of disposed waste assumes a weight of 250 lbs/yd3 waste. It is the lower range of the EPA’s standard conversion factor for uncompacted mixed MSW (residential, institutional, commercial): 1 yd3 mixed MSW = 250 to 300 lbs. You may choose to change this number to best represent your operations.
ConceptAverageMeasurementMaterial
Seats0.6lbs/seat/daySSOM
Meals Served1lbs/mealSSOM
Visitors0.45lbs/visitorSSOM
Disposed Waste125% of disposed waste by weightSSOM
Conversion table for venues & events
For resorts and conference properties:

If you have 238 seats, then:

0.6 lbs/seat/day * 238 seats = 143 lbs/day
143 lbs/day * 7 days/week = 1,001 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM per week

If you serve 1,000 meals in one week, then:

1 lbs/meal * 1,000 meals served/week = 1,000 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM in one week

For large venues and events2:

If you have 2,222 visitors in one week, then:

0.45 lbs/visitor * 2,222 visitors = 1,000 lbs = 0.5 ton of SSOM in one week

If you fill 2 trash dumpsters at 4 cubic yards 2 times per week, then:

2501 lbs/yd3 * (2 trash dumpsters * 4 yd3 * 2 pickups/week) = 4,000 lbs of total disposed waste/week
4,000 lbs * 25% of total waste = 1,000 lbs/week = 0.5 ton of SSOM in one week

1 The equation based on weight of disposed waste assumes a weight of 250 lbs/yd3 waste. It is the lower range of the EPA’s standard conversion factor for uncompacted mixed MSW (residential, institutional, commercial): 1 yd3 mixed MSW = 250 to 300 lbs. You may choose to change this number to best represent your operations.
Large venues and events include convention centers, stadiums, theme parks, performing art centers, movie theaters, fairgrounds, special event sites (e.g. parades, sporting events, festivals), and miscellaneous venues (e.g. museums, zoos).

CET (Center for EcoTechnology) developed this original Food Waste Estimation Guide under contract to MassDEP as part of MassDEP’s RecyclingWorks program. Although the information in this document has been funded wholly or in part by the Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement HC-00A00800-0 to the Center for EcoTechnology, it has not been subjected to the Agency’s publications review process and therefore, may not reflect the views of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred. 

Sources for Business Sector Estimates

California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). Business Group Waste Stream Calculator. 2016
https://www2.calrecycle.ca.gov/WasteCharacterization/BusinessGroupCalculator.
Cascadia Consulting Group. Waste Disposal and Diversion Findings for Selected Industry Groups. No. 341-2006-0006. California Environmental Protection Agency, June 2006.
https://www2.calrecycle.ca.gov/Publications/Details/1184.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Waste Reduction and Recycling Guide for Florida Correctional Facilities. Kessler Consulting, Inc., Jan. 2004.
http://www.businessperformance.org/sites/default/files/finalprisonguide-72ppi.pdf.
Food Waste Reduction Alliance. Analysis of U.S. Food Waste Among Food Manufacturers, Retailers, and Wholesalers. BSR, Apr. 2013. http://www.foodwastealliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/FWRA_BSR_Tier2_FINAL.pdf.
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Identification, Characterization, and Mapping of Food Waste and Food Waste Generators In Massachusetts. Draper/Lennon, Inc., Sept. 2002. https://www.mass.gov/doc/study-identification-characterization-mapping-of-food-waste-generators-in-massachusetts-2002/download.
U.S. EPA Region 1: Office of Administration and Resource Management. Updated Mapping of Food Residual Generation in Connecticut: Final Report – Spring 2012. 2012. https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/compost/compost_pdf/CTFoodResidualGeneratorReport2012pdf.pdf.
Massachusetts Restaurant Association. Interview by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. 2013.
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Estimating Quantities and Types of Food Waste at the City Level. October 2017. https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/food-waste-city-level-report.pdf .
Nichols, P., C. Porter, L. Hammond, and B. Arjmandi. “Food Intake May Be Determined by Plate Waste in a Retirement Living Center.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 102.8 (2002): 1142-144.
Northeast Waste Management Official’s Association (NEWMOA). From Behavior Change to Environmental Outcomes In Sustainable Hospitality: Metrics, Formulas, Variables, & Assumptions. June 2011. http://www.newmoa.org/prevention/projects/hospitality/   From_Behavior_Change_to_Environmental_Outcomes.pdf.
ReFED. A Roadmap to Reduce US Food Waste by 20%. Report: Technical Appendix. 2016. https://www.refed.com/downloads/ReFED_Technical_Appendix.pdf.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Food Waste Management Cost Calculator. 2009. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-01/foodcost3.xls.
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Food Scrap Generator Database Calculations. May 2014. http://anrmaps.vermont.gov/websites/Organics/documents/FoodScrapGeneration_Calculations-Final.pdf.
Williams, Peter G., and Karen Walton. “Plate Waste in Hospitals and Strategies for Change.” E-SPEN – The European E-journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism 6th Ser. 6 (2011).
WRAP. Overview of waste in the hospitality and food service sector. November 2013. https://wrap.org.uk/resources/report/overview-waste-hospitality-and-food-service-sector.

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