SEPTEMBER 2008

Recycling investments provide $5 million to 323 communities
Pennsylvania continues to support recycling initiatives

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell announced an investment of $5 million to help more than 320 municipalities continue and expand local recycling programs that are creating new revenue streams in the face of higher energy costs.

“Record-high fuel and energy costs are challenging local governments, businesses and families all across our state,” said Governor Rendell. “These grants will help local communities defray those higher costs while continuing to expand their recycling collections, and in some cases earn increased revenues from these valuable commodities.

The high costs of energy and fuel are straining budgets for many recycling programs, but some communities are finding opportunities to offset costs and increase revenues by expanding recycling collections.

With the price of petroleum near record highs, commodity markets for recyclable paper and plastics are expanding because prices for recovered materials are increasingly attractive compared to virgin materials. Communities that contract to sell the recyclable materials they collect benefit by increasing revenues and avoiding the costs to dispose of the materials.

Pennsylvania is home to more than 3,200 recycling and reuse businesses and organizations that generate more than $18 billion in gross annual sales and provide paychecks totaling $2.9 billion to more than 81,000 employees. Additionally, these businesses add more than $305 million in taxes to the state treasury.

Pennsylvanians divert five million tons of recyclables from municipal waste each year, which benefits the commonwealth by:

  • Saving more than 95 trillion BTU of energy, or an amount equivalent to the output of three large coal-fired power plants;
  • Saving consumers and industries more than $250 million in disposal costs and providing businesses with $550 million worth of materials;
  • Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an equivalent of more than 2.5 million metric tons, which is like offsetting the emissions from 1.7 million cars and light trucks.

Recycling performance grants reward communities based on the amount of recyclable materials collected. Larger collection amounts mean larger grants for the recycling programs - and more materials for manufacturers.

The grants awarded reflect 2006 collections numbers.

DEP has approved 323 of the 779 performance grant applications received for calendar year 2006 recycling. The remaining applications are being reviewed and additional grant awards may be announced in the coming months.

For more information, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Recycling Grants.