Governor grants $18 million

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell said Pennsylvania communities collected a record 5.48 million tons of recyclable materials in 2008, demonstrating that the state continues to make great strides to improve recycling opportunities.

The Governor said Pennsylvania supports communities that recycle because of its environmental and economic benefits. He announced more than $17.8 million in grants to help 478 communities in 58 counties continue their recycling programs. The grant totals were based on the amount of materials recycled and the recycling participation rate in 2008.

Recycling has continued to expand in Pennsylvania. The total amount collected in 2008 for recycling was 1.5 million tons greater than in 2002.

“Today, more than 11.6 million state residents, or 94 percent of the population, have access to recycling,” Governor Rendell said. “The grants we’re announcing are an important part of ensuring those programs can continue and they provide an incentive for communities to expand their programs when possible.

The grants the Governor announced were made possible through the Recycling Performance Grant Program. Act 101 initiated statewide recycling in 1988, which requires Pennsylvania’s communities with certain populations to offer recycling programs.

By recycling, Pennsylvanians have saved almost 98 trillion British Thermal Units of energy each year, which reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 2.5 million metric tons per year – the equivalent of shutting down 3 large coal-fired power plants or removing 1.7 million vehicles from the road for a year.

The materials Pennsylvanians recycle support more than 3,800 businesses and organizations. Those businesses and organizations account for more than $20.6 billion in gross annual sales and provided jobs for more than 52,000 employees at an annual payroll of approximately $2.2 billion.

The legislature overwhelmingly approved and the Governor signed Act 24 earlier this year to ensure the existing $2-per-ton fee on all waste disposed at municipal waste landfills is extended through January 1, 2020.

Additionally, the Governor last month signed Act 108, which creates a recycling program for electronic waste items such as televisions, computers and other electronic equipment. The program will be funded by electronic manufacturers and will prevent polluting from toxic substances.