Today, I’m pleased to announce that 118 cities, towns, regional groups and non-profits have received grants totaling more than $2.07 million to increase the diversion, re-use, composting and recycling of solid waste. This announcement coincides with America Recycles Day, a key part of the Keep America Beautiful initiative designed to celebrate recycling through education and motivation.
Recycling and re-using waste materials helps reduce our carbon footprint reducing greenhouse gas emissions, saving energy and increasing forest carbon sequestration.
Today’s grants were awarded through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP), created under the Green Communities Act, to help communities reduce the amount of waste disposed of in landfills and incinerators by recycling and composting.
Based on several categories, awards were given to communities for start-up incentives such as the Pay-As-You-Throw program, curbside collection of recyclables, and for composting kitchen food waste. Fifteen communities received funding for large containers for collection of materials at municipal transfer stations and another four received grants for local recycling enforcement coordinators.
Funds were also provided for seven pilot and regional innovative waste reduction projects and to 76 communities for small-scale initiatives.
Some communities were given grants to foster development of regional food waste and organics composting facilities, a new program that supports the Organics Action Plan, recently adopted by MassDEP, which calls for an additional 350,000 tons of food waste and other organic materials to be recycled or composted. Organic materials currently make up 25 percent of our waste stream, with only 100,000 tons being reused.
By decreasing that number, reliance on landfills and incinerators will be reduced, valuable materials will be saved and put back into the manufacturing sector - supporting our green economy and reducing costs by local governments to dispose of waste.
For a listing of communities that have been awarded a grant, go to http://www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/recawgr.htm#awards