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$3.1 Million in Composting and Recycling Grants in Pennsylvania

Allentown, PA— Pennsylvania awarded more than $3.1 million in recycling and composting grants for 49 projects designed to bolster recycling and reduce waste in Pennsylvania.

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty made the announcement with Allentown Mayor Roy Afflerbach; Lehigh County Planning Director Bob Korp, who represented County Executive Jane Ervin; and several other local officials at the city’s recycling center. Both the city and county received grants for their successful composting and recycling programs.

“Recycling is a growth industry with many kinds of business opportunities, from waste management to manufacturing to inventing new technologies,” Secretary McGinty said. “Lehigh County and Allentown officials continue to implement innovative programs that give residents greater access to waste reduction and recycling opportunities. These efforts help to ensure a healthy environment in the Lehigh Valley and all of Pennsylvania.”

Lehigh County is one of the top recyclers in the state with a 50.5 percent recycling rate. Allentown’s program recycles 2,400 tons from the waste stream annually. The proceeds have provided more than $320,000 to assist victims of juvenile crime in the area.

Lehigh County received $100,000 - the maximum amount awarded this round - for composting equipment, including a wildcat trommel screen that sifts compost into a finished product and a trailer to haul the trommel to the county's satellite composting sites. The grant includes funding for educational materials related to composting.

Allentown received $22,200 to purchase 400 food-waste composters for household use and to supply materials about composting to the general public. A recent municipal solid waste composition study identified food waste as the most prominent material with a potential for diversion from disposal.

The awards come from both the Act 101 Recycling Development and Implementation and the Composting Infrastructure Development grant programs.

The Recycling Development and Implementation awards make up $3 million of the grant total. The money will be used by local governments to establish recycling programs, purchase supplies and materials, and support environmental education efforts.

Awarded to 45 municipalities and counties, these grants provide up to 90 percent of approved program costs in developing and implementing recycling programs, including establishing or upgrading facilities and equipment for curbside and drop-off recycling, yard waste collection, composting and recycling processing.

The Compost Infrastructure Development Grant Program makes up the remaining $150,000 awarded. The program encourages for-profit business entities and nonprofit organizations to increase the amounts of organic materials - including yard and food wastes - collected and composted within the Commonwealth.

“Support of recycling efforts at the local level is making a difference in Pennsylvania,” McGinty said. “With the help of the municipalities and counties receiving these grants, pollution risks are lessened; natural resources, energy and landfill space are conserved; and disposal costs are reduced.”

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