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December 2007

Pennsylvania awards $366,000 in grants for compost usage

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell announced that Pennsylvania is seeking creative and profitable ways to reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfills, while encouraging businesses to increase the use of composted organic materials in finished products.

“About one-third of what goes into our landfills is organic waste, such as grass clippings, leaves and food scraps,” said Governor Rendell as he announced nearly $366,000 in strategic state investments to six organizations across the state.

The funding is from the Compost Infrastructure Development Grant Program and helps for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations incorporate organic materials into manufactured products. It also increases the amount of organic material processed at composting facilities.

The grants, which can go up to $100,000 for each project, are leveraged to attract additional investment from private entities and community organizations. This year’s recipients will invest more than $91,000 additionally to support these projects.

Following is a list, by county, of the grant recipients:

  • Centre County, Tait Farm Foods Inc. - $55,560 for equipment that will allow the community-supported agriculture farm to receive additional leaf and yard waste from Harris Township and food waste from food manufacturers, restaurants and residences. Tait Farms will compost an additional 200 tons of organic waste annually.
  • Cumberland County, Dickinson College - $93,000 for equipment that will enable the campus farm to expand and accept organic materials from new sources, including campus cafeterias, coffee shops and local businesses. The grant will allow the college to compost an additional 91,000 pounds of material annually. The finished compost will be used on the campus farm, which grows fresh produce that is used in the campus dining halls.
  • Jefferson County, Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living Inc. - $17,662 for equipment to start on-site vermicomposting at a local restaurant. The nonprofit group expects to compost 168 cubic yards of organic materials annually.
  • Montgomery County, Two Particular Acres - $91,893 for equipment that will allow this family-owned farm to receive additional food wastes from hotels, hospitals and grocery stores. The farm will compost 10,000 cubic yards of material annually. Additional equipment will mechanically remove plastics that contaminate the feedstock, resulting in a higher quality finished product with greater market value.
  • Schuylkill County, Red Earth Farm - $20,533 for equipment that will allow this community-supported agriculture farm to accept organic materials from additional local businesses. The farm plans to compost 2,000 additional cubic yards of material annually.
  • Tioga County, Keystone North Inc. - $87,289 to develop and build a vermicomposting system to be demonstrated at Mansfield University, which does not currently compost the food waste generated on campus. The company expects to compost 164 tons of food waste annually at the university. The resulting compost material will be sold and could generate up to $2,000 per week. Additional vermicomposting systems will be manufactured and sold based on market demand.