Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
On America Recycles Day, Nov. 15, the Baker-Polito administration announced $4.2 million in grant funding to 270 municipalities and regional solid waste districts across the Commonwealth.
The grants, made available through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program and approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, will help communities maximize their recycling, composting and waste reduction programs.
“One of the most effective measures we can take to reduce the waste stream in communities across the Commonwealth is to support and encourage recycling, diversion, and reuse of waste materials,” said Gov. Charlie Baker.
This year, 265 communities qualified for the Recycling Dividends Program and will receive payments ranging from $245 to $110,500 for a total of $3.37 million.
The dividends program recognizes municipalities that have implemented policies and programs proven to maximize materials reuse and recycling, as well as waste reduction. Added this year was a criterion that provided funding to municipalities that included diversity, equity and inclusion in their trash and recycling programs. Reuse categories were added to fund incentives for pilot deconstruction projects and single-use plastic bans. Curbside collection of food waste was also incentivized with additional funding.
Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card said the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program funds programs that effectively reduce the amount of waste disposed in landfills and incinerators. Waste prevention and recycling also “reduce greenhouse gas emissions by capturing the embodied energy in every-day product and packaging waste and converting these sources into new products with a smaller carbon footprint.”
Funds have been awarded in several categories, including start-up incentives for Pay-As-You-Throw programs, wheeled-carts for curbside collection of recyclables, wheeled carts for curbside collection of food waste, drop-off equipment for the collection of mercury-bearing items, regional small-scale initiatives, and the Recycling Dividends Program. This year, the program listed a subset of Environmental Justice municipalities that earned additional funding, including Chelsea, Holyoke, Leominster, Medford, Pittsfield, Quincy, Randolph, Somerville and Southbridge.
“Our 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan has expanded material waste ban regulations that have established aggressive goals to reduce our waste disposal and increase recycling and reuse,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The SMRP grants will help these 270 communities to join with us to reach our recycling goals, while reducing our waste stream, assisting [Environmental Justice] communities, and saving on local disposal costs.”
Under the program, $267,000 in PAYT funds were awarded to the town of Westford, while $8,350 in PAYT funds were awarded to the town of Plympton. Westford was also awarded $93,450 for wheeled carts for curbside collection of recyclables, and Shrewsbury received $214,000 for this purpose.
Taunton was awarded $20,000 and Lexington received $8,000 for pilot programs in the curbside collection of food waste. Watertown was awarded $130,000 for the expansion of an existing curbside food waste collection program.
Canton, Freetown, Greenfield, Hardwick, Hudson, North Adams, Royalston, and Taunton were each awarded $5,000 for Universal Waste Sheds for their drop-off facilities for the collection of mercury-bearing items.
Fourteen municipalities will receive payments totalling at least $50,000.
The SMRP grant program was created under the Green Communities Act of 2008, which requires that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Waste Energy Certificates be directed to recycling programs approved by the MassDEP. The SMRP initiative has provided more than $50 million to recycling programs since 2010.