DEEP is continuing to carry out its mission and provide services while keeping both the public and our workforce safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for the latest updates on DEEP's response to COVID-19. DEEP COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak

DEEP is committed to ensuring the health and safety of Connecticut’s citizens.  During the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, we have been working with many of the state’s business sectors to base our decisions on accurate, reliable information.  DEEP has worked with the waste management industry to ensure the timely and safe disposal of solid waste and the continued collection and recycling state’s mandatory recyclables. DEEP has also worked closely with the grocery retailers regarding the collection of deposit bottles and cans and the safe use of re-useable grocery bags. Please keep in mind that continuing to safely recycle will support various industries that rely on these materials for their manufacturing processes and recycling helps to protect the environment. 


Ensuring Continuity of Service

DEEP’s collaboration with Connecticut waste hauling companies contributed to Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7H, issued on March 20, 2020, which identifies solid waste hauling and recycling as essential services. The declaration allows waste haulers to continue doing the important work of removing waste from our neighborhoods and taking it to disposal facilities, as well as collecting recyclables and delivering those materials to recycling markets.  The declaration also identifies waste facilities as essential, including the state’s five resources recovery facilities where most of Connecticut’s solid waste is safely combusted for energy recovery. 

In an effort to ensure continuous service for the collection of waste and recyclables and the transportation of those materials to appropriate facilities, DEEP continues to communicate and coordinate with the industry to provide additional flexibility as circumstances warrant.

Bottle Bill


Connecticut’s bottle bill program and deposit container redemption services are a fundamental part of the recycling industry and have been deemed to be essential under Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7H.


On March 17, 2020, DEEP issued a press release noting that it would be temporarily suspending enforcement actions against Connecticut retailers for failing to accept empty beverage containers for redemption.  During this time and until April 30, 2020, if stores do not accept empty beverage containers, DEEP will not issue them a notice of violation.


The purpose for this “enforcement discretion” is to allow retailers such as supermarkets and grocery stores to better utilize their available resources to help keep stores clean and sanitized and to keep the shelves stocked.


While retailers might opt to temporarily halt their bottle redemption services, most independent redemption centers have indicated that they intend to stay open.  DEEP maintains a list of redemption centers in Connecticut on its website


It is recommended that residents check with a redemption location to ensure they are open before heading there with containers to redeem.

Refer to Frequently Asked Questions on Bottle Bill Beverage Container Redemption during the COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak. 

Reusable Bags

On March 27, 2020, DEEP, Department of Public Health and Department of Revenue Services issued a joint press release stating that customers who use re-usable bags are strongly encouraged to pack their own bags, in other words: bring-your-own/pack-your-own bags. Retail and grocery workers and the general public are much more likely to catch or spread the virus through airborne droplets via close-contact with an infected person or persons. Regardless of the type of bag a consumer chooses, proper handwashing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding touching the face, routine cleaning of frequently touched spaces and social distancing as much as possible are considered best-practices to reduce the spreading of the disease.


It is well-established that soap and water, alcohol-based sanitizers, and common widely-available disinfection products are all very effective in killing coronaviruses. Re-usable bags should and can easily be cleaned between uses through laundering, hand washing, or wiping with a disinfecting wipe. General safe-practices when using cloth or plastic reusable bags is to clean them after each use following the care instructions on the label, keep raw meats, seafood, produce and household cleaners in separate bags and store clean, dry bags in a cool, dry environment. Combined with frequent hand-washing with soap and water and wiping of surfaces with cleaning and disinfecting products effectively eliminates viable coronaviruses from surfaces and prevents them from being transferred to mucous membranes.



Recycling has been identified as an essential service during the COVID-19 coronavirus emergency. The materials Connecticut residents and businesses recycle, especially cardboard, are essential feedstocks for new materials.  The manufacture of products such as boxes, tissue and paper towels rely on these recycled materials. Effective recycling starts with you; please keep recycling so that manufacturers have access to these materials at this critical time.  Connecticut residents and businesses should continue to divert their recyclable materials from their trash, and should also take care not to place items in mixed recycling bins and dumpsters that are actually contaminants (e.g., plastic bags, Styrofoam, food scraps, etc).


If you are not sure what items should or should not be placed in a mixed recycling bin, please refer to the “What’s IN, What’s OUT” guidance available at


Resources for Further Information

For more information on Connecticut’s recycling programs:

Information from the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) regarding how to clean reusable bags:

Solid waste and wastewater management workers and employers OSHA information:

Frequently asked questions concerning COVID-19 coronavirus from the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

Information regarding the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus and how to protect yourself and others from infection from the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

Advice and information concerning COVID-19 coronavirus from the World Health Organization (WHO):

For information on why handwashing with soap is effective against viruses:


Content Last Updated on April 16, 2020