Recycling Grants Reinstated

Harrisburg, PA— The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that Pennsylvania is restoring its municipal recycling grant program and offering $20 million this year to help local governments fund their recycling operations.

"Even in these tough economic times, DEP and the administration have been successful in securing money to help municipalities finance a program that gives 10 million Pennsylvanians access to recycling," said Acting Secretary McGinty.

Awarded under Section 902 of Act 101, known as the Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act of 1988, the grants help local governments develop and finance recycling programs that can include education, additional curbside collection and recycling-center improvements.

The new grant round opened April 5 and closes June 26. The grants, which have not been offered in nearly two years, will be awarded in the fall.

Municipalities are eligible for 90 percent funding of approved recycling program costs. The maximum award for any municipality is $2 million. The highest funding priority will be given to the 42 municipalities mandated to recycle as a result of the 2000 census.

"This money is tremendously important to local governments, so I am pleased that DEP and the Administration were able to come through to help municipalities that are on the frontline of the state's tremendous recycling efforts," Acting Secretary McGinty said.

The Act 101 grants support the infrastructure of Pennsylvania's $23 billion recycling industry, which includes $2.9 billion in wages paid to 81,322 people employed in 3,247 recycling and reuse industries. The annual sales receipts of these establishments totaled $18.4 billion. The indirect benefits totaled $1.8 billion and tax receipts were estimated at $305 million annually.

The benefits of recycling and waste reduction also include reduced pollution risks; conservation of natural resources, energy and landfill space; and reduced disposal costs.

The energy saved by Pennsylvanian's recycling three million tons of materials in 2001 rather than disposing of them is equal to the amount of energy needed to heat and power nearly 900,000 homes. Recycling reduced nearly 10,000 tons of waterborne wastes in Pennsylvania in 2001. More than seven million trees were saved by Pennsylvanian's recycling newspaper, office and mixed paper.

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