- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Marks America Recycles Day with $3.6 Million in Grants for Recycling, Composting and Waste Reduction
Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs
BOSTON — To celebrate America Recycles Day, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced $3.6 million in Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) grants to 54 communities, regional groups and non-profit organizations to increase the diversion, reuse, composting and recycling of materials in the solid waste stream.
“On America Recycles Day, and throughout the year, our administration is partnering with communities and other organizations to invest in programs that will encourage recycling and waste reduction efforts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Reducing waste by composting, reuse and recycling improves the health of our communities and the vitality of our business sector.”
“The Sustainable Materials Recovery Program grants highlight our administration’s continued efforts to protect the environment and the public health, and support community sustainability,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.“This program supports the important local work that will reduce the waste stream, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preserving our natural resources.”
During the second round of 2019 SMRP funding, 54 communities and groups will receive grants ranging from $3,000 to $300,000 for a total of $3,651,412 statewide. Funds have been awarded 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.
“Through this grant program, the Baker-Polito Administration is proud to work with communities and nonprofits across the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment for the generations to come,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The Commonwealth has an aggressive goal of reducing the waste stream by 80 percent by 2050, and programs like this will help us reach that goal and improve the health of our communities.”
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 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.
“Organics, paper, metals and plastic constitute more than 65 percent of the materials we throw away today, and those materials are not waste, but a valuable commodity that should be reused and recycled,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “When we repurpose these materials, we reduce the waste stream, save money on disposal costs, create renewable energy and stimulate the economy.”
During this SMRP funding round, a total of $1.96 million has been allocated for 12 conditional grants that communities can use to implement Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) programs or upgrade existing PAYT to 35-gallon standardized carts. PAYT provides a fair and equitable system in which residents control what they pay for trash disposal by recycling and composting.
A mattress recycling incentive, now in its fifth year, will award $643,002 to 22 communities across the state. This grant 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. Recycling is a preferred management method since mattresses are bulky and costly to dispose of in landfills and incinerators.
Seven communities were awarded a total of $682,980 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-, $15- or $20-per-cart subsidy for the purchase of carts 64 gallons or larger.
Nineteen communities will receive a total of $136,000 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 recyclables, glass, single-stream recyclables and “bulky rigid” plastics. Six municipalities will receive funding for a “swap shed” for the storage of reusable home goods and furnishings dropped off by residents for others to take.
Also funded was an Education and Enforcement Coordinator (EEC) for the Town of Dalton. This grant item will enable Dalton to hire an EEC to enforce their newly adopted private waste hauler regulations, which require haulers servicing residential households to provide trash and recycling as a bundled service at a rate that reflects the cost of both services. This ensures that those households not served by the municipality are provided with recycling services.
The Island Grown Initiative, a non-profit on Martha’s Vineyard, was awarded $43,000 to expand their food waste composting operations from the current 120 tons of food waste per year to 720 tons. The funds will help meet the growing demand for greater food waste recovery on the island.
The Keep Massachusetts Beautiful non-profit was awarded $51,000 to develop a statewide network of presenters and educators to conduct hundreds of presentations across the state promoting MassDEP’s Recycle Smart MA education initiative.
“I am thrilled that a community in my district was selected for a Sustainable Materials Recovery Program grant. Combating our climate crisis is a priority to me, and our towns’ ability to recycle and dispose of waste responsibly is one small way to accomplish this goal,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “With this funding, totaling more than $200,000, Holliston will have the means to continue its commitment to providing a safe and clean community for all of its residents.”
“I am glad to see the release of this grant funding under the administration’s work with the SMRP, particularly to the towns of Phillipston, Ware, and Monson,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), House Chairwoman of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “Supporting solid waste reduction initiatives is key to ensuring that we reach our recycling and reuse goals, and these awards help our area towns work toward achieving those markers with a smaller financial burden.”
“Recycling plays a pivotal role in protecting our environment,” said State Senator Dean Tran (R-Fitchburg).“Implementing ways, including the incorporation of appliances to avoid the use of disposal trays, is a sound use of grant money.”
“This funding will work to ensure that Holliston has the tools it needs to move forward with thoughtful, sustainable waste management,” said State Representative Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston). “I welcome this opportunity for state and local partners to work together to meet the needs of our community while making progress toward our shared environmental goals.”
“I am very happy that two towns in my district have taken advantage of these grants,” said State Representative Sheila Harrington (R-Groton). “Both Pepperell and Townsend are taking a great step toward a sustainable recycling program.”
A list of the municipalities, regional groups and non-profit organizations that have been awarded a grant, as well as more information about the SMRP program, can be seen here.
During the first round of SMRP funding announced in October, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded more than $2.9 million in grants to 262 communities and solid waste districts to help pay for new recycling bins and carts, public education and outreach, collection of difficult-to-recycle items and implement recycling programs at municipal buildings, schools and public spaces.