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BOSTON — To celebrate America Recycles Day, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced more than $4.1 million in Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) grants to 57 communities, regional groups and non-profit organizations to help increase the diversion, reuse, composting and recycling of materials in the solid waste stream.
“Sustainable Materials Recovery Program grants are an opportunity for the Commonwealth to partner with cities and towns to protect our environment and encourage recycling that will lead to less greenhouse gas emissions and save money on waste disposal,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through the SMRP, our administration remains committed to supporting local waste reduction efforts that improve the health of our communities and the vitality of our businesses.”
“Cities and towns lead the way when it comes to recycling and composting, and it makes a difference in the quality of life for all of our residents,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These grants provide the funding necessary for communities to tailor their individual recycling programs to the needs of their citizens.”
During the second round of 2017 SMRP funding, 57 communities will receive grants ranging from $3,000 to $405,500, for a total of $4,101,026 statewide. 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 recycling and kitchen food waste for composting, large containers for collection of target materials at municipal transfer stations, funding for local enforcement coordinators, school recycling assistance programs, and projects to build organics capacity and support innovative waste reduction.
“The Commonwealth has an aggressive goal of reducing the waste stream by 50 percent by 2020, and these grants will help communities move closer to that goal,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “By encouraging recycling, we can save money on waste disposal costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions, create renewable energy, and stimulate the economy.”
The SMRP grant program was created under the Green Communities Act and is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Waste prevention and recycling efforts like these reduce 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.
“By awarding these grants, we partner with local communities to find a better way to utilize these reusable materials, and that effort makes a significant difference for the environment and the public health,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “It is important to convert paper, metal and plastic packaging into a much-needed feedstock for new materials.”
“These grants provide crucial funding to allow municipalities to drastically reduce the solid waste stream and help curb greenhouse gas emissions,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton). “Our cities and towns are working diligently to help clean up our environment, and I look forward to continuing this partnership.”
“The Baker Administration has given substantial resources to cities and towns so that the state can support the efforts of local leaders to reduce what would otherwise be shipped to the waste stream and increase the diversion of what can be recycled into reusable materials,” said State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “I am delighted that communities across the state, including from the district I represent, are being recognized for their beneficial efforts.”
“Congratulations to the towns of Ashby and Warren on receiving these incredibly helpful recycling grants,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “Mattress recycling is a cumbersome project to tackle for small communities and these funds will help to keep them out of the waste stream.”
“These funds will go a long way to assist my communities in strengthening their recycling efforts,” said House Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia A. Haddad (D-Somerset). “Recycling expansion is a win-win for everyone.”
“America Recycles Day is one of those days when you realize how important local participation is in making a global difference. I’m extremely proud of two towns I represent, Monterey and Sheffield, who are actively working to reduce the waste produced in town through increasing recycling efforts and educating folks on how to properly recycle,” said State Representative William Pignatelli (D-Lenox), House Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and MassDEP for supporting efforts across the Commonwealth that bolster programs focused on recycling, composting, and re-using materials to reduce the waste stream.”
A list of the community, regional group or non-profit organizations that have been awarded grants, as well as more information about the SMRP program, can be found here.
The Green Communities Act requires that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Waste Energy Certificates (WECs) be directed to recycling programs approved by MassDEP. The WEC payments received by MassDEP are deposited into the SMRP Expendable Trust, which is used to fund grants, technical assistance and education to help communities, businesses and institutions increase recycling and reduce waste. The SMRP program has provided more than $28 million for recycling program since 2010.