“Some of the most important environmental protection work happens every day in communities throughout Massachusetts through local recycling and solid waste programs,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With this assistance, we are ensuring that local officials, residents and small business owners can continue protecting the Commonwealth’s neighborhoods and natural resources.”
“Under the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program, municipalities and solid waste districts are working even harder to improve recycling programs and reduce waste, which has resulted in a seven percent increase in funding over last year,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “With these grants, our administration and our local partners are making a difference in communities across the Commonwealth.”
Under SMRP, 227 communities qualified for the Recycling Dividends Program (RDP) and will receive payments ranging from $2,450 to $97,500. The RDP recognizes municipalities that have implemented policies and programs proven to maximize materials reuse and recycling, as well as waste reduction. Communities that earn RDP payments must reinvest the funds in their recycling programs for things such as new recycling bins or carts, public education and outreach campaigns, collection of hard-to-recycle items and the establishment of recycling programs in schools, municipal buildings and other public spaces.
“The Baker-Polito Administration is currently working to finalize the Commonwealth’s Solid Waste Master Plan for the next decade, which will establish aggressive goals to reduce our waste disposal and increase recycling,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “We are pleased to offer this assistance to help communities cycle resources back into our economy and support local businesses throughout the collection, processing and manufacturing chain.”
As part of this SMRP grant round, 42 municipalities that did not apply for or qualify for an RDP payment will be awarded a total of $45,250 for a Small-Scale Initiatives Grant. These population-based grants range from $500 to $2,000 each and help communities purchase modest, but critical recycling materials and outreach tools needed to sustain their existing recycling program or to facilitate new, low-cost initiatives. Each of these SMRP programs are administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).
“These new funds give communities the opportunity to make critical investments in their recycling programs, capturing more materials that can be reused, and helping them to reduce their waste disposal costs,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “This is another example of MassDEP’s commitment to building strategic partnerships with our local communities.”
The RDP was rolled out in 2014 under MassDEP’s Sustainable Materials Recovery Program, which was created by the Green Communities Act of 2008. The Act requires that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Waste Energy Certificates (WECs) be directed to recycling programs approved by MassDEP. The SMRP initiative has provided more than $41.6 million in recycling programs since 2010.
Twelve municipalities earned a payment of at least $50,000: Cambridge at $97,500; New Bedford at $91,000; Boston at $80,000; Springfield and Worcester at $71,500; Brockton, Lowell, Newton and Quincy earning between $60,000 and $70,000; and Brookline, Chicopee and Lynn earning between $50,000 and $60,000. Nine municipalities are first-time recipients of Recycling Dividends Program funds.
“Massachusetts’ commitment to sustainable practices is one of the reasons our quality of life is so high here,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “I am thrilled that so many communities in my district and across the Commonwealth have shown success in their recycling programs and will receive additional resources to continue investing in that success.”
“Massachusetts residents are committed to recycling and these grants will go a long way to promote and increase recycling in homes, municipal buildings and industry,” said State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “I am delighted that communities in our area and across the state are being recognized and supported for their efforts.”
“Promoting recycling and reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills is critical to protecting the environment, not only today but also for future generations,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “The Sustainable Materials Recovery Program provides an important funding source to help communities expand their recycling and composting efforts, and I am thrilled to see that three of the towns in my district will share in the latest round of funding awards.”
“Increasing sustainable consumer practices and improving recycling programs are important steps in fighting climate change and bettering the health of our planet,” said State Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), House Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture. “The grants awarded by the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program go far in improving recycling systems at the local level, which translate into better overall results at the state level. The six communities in my district that are receiving funds through this program will be well served by the improvements these grants will facilitate.”
“To have this grant money come back to the district is great, especially due to the fact that Amesbury and Newburyport are communities that demonstrate the importance of environmental consciousness,” said State Representative James Kelcourse (R-Amesbury). “This funding will help these cities continue to lead in establishing creative, new recycling efforts, and to push forward on a path toward a more sustainable future.”
See a list of the 269 RDP and Small-Scale grant awards here (https://www.mass.gov/doc/list-of-2020-first-round-municipalregional-grant-awards-october-2020/download).
The WEC payments received by MassDEP are deposited into the SMRP Expendable Trust, which is used to fund grants, technical assistance and educational outreach to help communities, businesses and institutions increase recycling and reduce waste.
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.