Mass. Awards $3.5M to Fund Waste-Reduction Efforts

By ecoRI News staff

The state of Massachusetts recently awarded $3.57 million in grants to 80 municipalities, regional groups and nonprofits to increase the diversion, reuse, composting and recycling of materials.

The grants are funded through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP), which was created under the Green Communities Act and is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The SMRP offers funding for recycling, composting, reuse and source-reduction activities that will reduce the amount of waste disposed of in landfills and incinerators.

Funds were awarded in several categories, including start-up incentives for pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) programs, wheeled-carts for curbside collection of recyclables and food scrap for composting, large containers for collection of target materials at municipal transfer stations, funding for local recycling enforcement coordinators, school recycling assistance programs, organics capacity building projects, and innovative waste reduction projects. The grants range from $288 to $350,000.

The town of Bourne, for example, will receive up to $350,000 for construction of an anaerobic digestion facility at the town’s former landfill. This project is being jointly funded by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

During this SMRP funding round, a total of $604,265 has been allocated for six conditional grants that communities can use to implement PAYT programs. The grants will be disbursed to assist with start-up costs, such as producing public education materials and buying PAYT bags and recycling bins.

A new mattress recycling incentive will be awarded to 48 communities across the state. This grant will pay for the cost of recycling residential mattresses that are collected and recycled by one of three mattress recycling companies on Massachusetts state contract. Very little mattress recycling currently occurs in Massachusetts, even though about 90 percent of a mattress’ components are recyclable, according to the DEP. Recycling is a preferred management method since mattresses are bulky and costly to dispose of in landfills and incinerators. DEP has allocated up to $1 million to pay for the recycling of mattresses and expects the increased supply will help drive a stronger recycling market.

Twelve communities were awarded $925,231 in SMRP grants for the purchase of wheeled carts for the implementation or expansion of curbside single-stream or dual-stream recycling.

Twenty-four communities will receive a total of $153,519 to expand their recycling programs to collect targeted materials at municipal recycling drop-off or transfer stations, or increase the efficiency of recycling cardboard with compactors that reduce material density and reduce hauling costs. Grants are for the purchase of roll-offs or compactors for the collection of source-separated wood, “rigid bulky” plastics, and source-separated food scrap.

Five communities will receive a total of $154,602 in grants to help school districts implement or expand recycling of paper, cardboard, bottles and cans in all schools in their districts.

For an alphabetical list of cities, towns, regional groups and nonprofits that received grant funding, click here.