- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards $1.3 Million to Support Recycling, Waste Reduction for Communities and Regional Groups
Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs
BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $1.3 million in grant funding to 34 communities, regional groups and non-profit organizations through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP). The grants will help to increase diversion, reuse, composting and recycling of materials in the solid waste stream.
“Supporting and encouraging the proactive environmental protection efforts happening at the local level is one of the most effective measures we can take to reduce waste in cities and towns across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By reducing the waste stream with a combination of recycling, diversion and materials re-use, we are able to work closely with our municipal partners to improve the health of communities throughout Massachusetts.”
“Communities and their residents want to help protect the environment by recycling as much material as possible,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “With this critical investment in local recycling efforts, our administration is proud to help communities become more sustainable and to achieve their waste reduction goals.”
The SMRP, created under the Green Communities Act and administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), 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.
“The Commonwealth has set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste reduction is one of the ways to meet those goals and protect our natural resources,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “By partnering with cities and towns to encourage recycling, we will continue to reduce harmful emissions, create local jobs, and stimulate the economy.”
MassDEP awarded funds in several categories, including start-up incentives for Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) programs, wheeled-carts for curbside collection of recyclables, large containers for collection of target materials at municipal transfer stations, school recycling assistance programs and innovative waste reduction projects.
“MassDEP continues to work with our community partners to capture more materials that can be reused and recycled, reducing the waste stream,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “These grants will help provide new bins or carts, increase educational outreach efforts and expand recycling programs to under-served community sectors.”
A mattress recycling incentive grant, now in its sixth year, has been awarded to 19 communities across the state. The grants will pay for the cost of recycling residential mattresses that are collected and recycled by one of four mattress recycling companies on Massachusetts state contract. About 75 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 $438,000 to pay for recycling of mattresses in the coming year and expects the increased supply will help drive a stronger recycling market.
MassDEP awarded Barnstable County/Cape Cod Cooperative Extension $125,000 towards the establishment of a regional household hazardous waste (HHW) collection center to serve all 15 Cape Cod municipalities. When constructed, the facility will reduce costs to local government and provide a convenient outlet for residents and small business to safely dispose of unwanted household chemicals. The collection center will also provide education on less toxic alternatives and promote reuse of household products that are still viable.
Two municipalities, Holyoke and Marlborough, were awarded grants ($100,000 and $85,000 respectively), to set up regional glass processing operations. Glass bottles and jars will be crushed into a construction product known as Processed Glass Aggregate, which is used for pipe drainage and other subsurface public works construction applications.
More Than Words (MTW), a Boston-based non-profit social enterprise that operates youth job training programs, was awarded $65,000 to expand their textile donation and recovery program. MTW partners with dozens of greater Boston municipalities to collect donated books and textiles for reuse and recovery.
The City of Medford was awarded a $30,000 school recycling assistance grant to cover the cost of six recycling dumpsters to expand recycling capacity, a dishwasher for Medford High School, reusable lunch trays and signage. The grant includes all schools in the district and addresses infrastructure needed to expand recycling and reduce single-use plastic food service ware in the high school cafeteria.
“Massachusetts residents are committed to protecting the environment and these local recycling initiative grants play a major and important role in diverting the state's waste stream to recycling sustainability,” said State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “I am delighted that communities in our area and across the state are being recognized and supported for their efforts.”
“I applaud the towns of Maynard, Marlborough and Hudson for securing these vital grants that will enhance liter prevention, recycling, and waste reduction. I am thrilled to see the state provide municipalities with the financial support to implement these programs,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “Our towns play a critical role in improving our overall environmental impact and in preserving our open spaces for generations to come.”
“Through the Green Communities Act, Massachusetts helps cities and towns find clean energy solutions that reduce long-term energy costs and strengthen local economies,” said House Speaker Pro Tempore Kate Hogan (D-Stow). “The funds that Hudson and Maynard receive through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program will help in efforts to reduce the amount of waste disposed of in landfills and incinerators, ultimately aiding our climate protection and clean energy efforts in the Commonwealth.”
“I’m pleased to see that Rockport is benefitting from the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program and will be able to offer incentives that will promote recycling, reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills and incinerators, and help to create a greener Cape Ann and Commonwealth,” said State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester), Vice Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.
An alphabetical list of the cities, towns, regional groups and non-profit organizations that have been awarded a grant, as well as more information about the SMRP program, can be found 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.