For Immediate Release - November 09, 2016

Baker-Polito Administration Awards $2.38 Million for Recycling,Composting and Waste Reduction

Funds to 51 Communities and Groups Will Support Recycling Carts, Mattress Recycling and Food Waste Collection Efforts

BOSTON -The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $2.38 million in Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) grants to 51 communities, regional groups and non-profit organizations to increase the diversion, reuse, composting and recycling of materials in the solid waste stream. This is the second round of grants awarded this year through the SMRP [information on the first round ], a program created under the Green Communities Act and is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

"It is important for the Commonwealth to support and encourage the proactive environmental protection efforts happening at the local level," said Governor Charlie Baker. "These funds will help local officials and residents recycle more materials, reduce local waste disposal costs, and create a healthier environment for their citizens."

"These recycling grants will help the Commonwealth's communities continue their good work responsibly protecting our natural resources and public health," said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. "Cities and towns can use these funds to improve their recycling and waste reduction efforts and make a real difference for the environment."

The SMRP offers funding for recycling, composting, reuse and source reduction activities that will reduce the amount of waste disposed of in landfills and incinerators. Waste prevention and recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions by capturing the embodied energy in every-day product and packaging waste and converting these sources into new products with a smaller carbon footprint.

"Reducing waste by recycling, composting and reuse improves the health of our communities and the vitality of our businesses," said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton. "The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to working with municipalities to significantly reduce waste disposal statewide and meet our ambitious recycling goals."

"Organics, paper, metals and plastic constitute more than 65 percent of the materials we throw away today, and the Commonwealth has made it a priority to recycle and compost at least half of that valuable material by 2020. These grants will help us meet this aggressive goal," said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "When we recycle these materials, we reduce the waste stream, save money on disposal costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions, create renewable energy, grow jobs and stimulate the economy."

Funds have been awarded in several categories, including start-up incentives for Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) recycling programs, mattress recycling incentives, wheeled-carts for curbside collection of recyclables and kitchen food waste for composting, large containers for collection of target materials at municipal transfer stations, funding for local recycling enforcement coordinators, school recycling assistance programs, and organics capacity building projects and innovative waste reduction projects.

"With these grants, the Commonwealth will increase our recycling rates to protect our environment and build a sustainable future. Reducing our solid waste stream will protect public health, preserve our green spaces, and reduce costs for cities and towns," said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). "I thank the Baker-Polito Administration for providing these grants and fulfilling the promises of the Green Communities Act."

"The Sustainable Materials Recovery Program is successfully encouraging municipalities to improve their recycling efforts," said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop.)  "I thank Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito and the Department of Environmental Protection for providing these grants to help communities recycle."

"Promoting recycling and the reduction of materials into the waste stream is an effective tool in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption," said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). "These Sustainable Materials Recovery grants will help move us in the right direction; responsible stewardship for our environment."

"The grant awards announced by MassDEP today will go a long way towards helping cities and towns promote a variety of recycling and composting initiatives," said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). "By encouraging the adoption of more sustainable methods of waste disposal throughout the Commonwealth, these grants will have a lasting and positive impact on the environment."

"The SMRP program supports important recycling projects across the state and has been incredibly effective over the years," said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. "Congratulations to Ashby on their successful grant application."

"Increased waste reduction and innovative recycling programs are necessary tools to combat climate change in the Commonwealth, but they can often be costly to our municipalities," said State Representative Paul Schmid (D-Westport), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. "Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Department of Environmental Protection for providing important funding to expand recycling initiatives in our communities."

During this SMRP funding round, a total of $848,500 has been allocated for four conditional grants that the communities of Brockton, Brookline, Chicopee, and Wrentham can use to implement Pay-As-You-Throw. PAYT provides a fair and equitable system in which residents control what they pay for trash disposal by recycling and composting. The grants will be disbursed to assist with start-up costs, such as producing public education materials and purchasing PAYT bags and recycling bins.

Four communities - Amherst, Auburn, Chicopee and West Springfield - will receive a total of $166,000 to support the hiring of local waste reduction enforcement coordinators to assist in enforcing mandatory recycling, compliance with single-stream recycling or compliance with existing PAYT programs.

The Recycling Partnership, a national non-profit working to improve the quality of the residential recycling stream, will receive up to $100,000 to deliver technical assistance, outreach materials and training to municipalities wanting to use MassDEP's new Recycling I.Q. Toolkit to reduce contamination and increase recycling.

The Town of Yarmouth will receive up to $150,000 for capital equipment to enable its Regional Septage Facility to convert grease trap waste, generated in food preparation by area restaurants, schools, hospitals and nursing homes, into bio-fuel.

The Town of Arlington will receive an award of $26,651 for containers, education materials and part-time staff to build more effective recycling in Arlington Public Schools and institute food scrap/organics collection at school cafeterias.  

A mattress recycling incentive, now in its second year, will be awarded to 11 communities across the state. This grant will pay for the cost of recycling residential mattresses that are collected and recycled by one of three mattress recycling companies on Massachusetts state contract. Very little mattress recycling currently occurs in Massachusetts, even though about 90 percent of a mattress's components are recyclable. Recycling is a preferred management method since mattresses are bulky and costly to dispose of in landfills and incinerators. MassDEP has allocated up to $352,000 to pay for the recycling of mattresses and expects the increased supply will help drive a stronger recycling market.

Seven communities were awarded $615,686 in SMRP grants for the purchase of wheeled carts for the implementation or expansion of curbside single-stream or dual-stream recycling. The grant provides a $10- or $20-per-cart subsidy for the purchase of carts 64 gallons or larger. Carts make recycling more convenient for residents, producing higher recycling rates and less trash.

Thirty-one communities will receive a total of $220,879 to expand their recycling programs to collect targeted materials at municipal recycling drop-off or transfer stations or increase the efficiency of recycling cardboard with compactors that densify material and reduce hauling costs. Grants are for the purchase of roll-offs or compactors for the collection of source-separated wood, "bulky rigid" plastics, and source-separated food waste.

An alphabetical list of the city, town, regional group or non-profit organizations that have been conditionally awarded a grant, as well as more information about the SMRP program, can be seen here

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

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