Pennsylvania Awards Municipalities $20 For Recycling
Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty has announced 162 grants totaling $20 million to help finance municipal recycling programs. Some 10 million Pennsylvania residents will have access to recycling services through the funded projects.
“Recycling is a growth industry with many kinds of business opportunities, from waste management to manufacturing to inventing new technologies,” McGinty said at the site of a planned multi-municipal yard trimmings composting facility in Lower Swatara Township, Dauphin County.
McGinty made the announcement while awarding $435,000 to Middletown Borough to develop a composting facility on three acres on the grounds of the former Olmsted Air Force Base that are part of a former federal Superfund and state Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act site.
The grant will finance site improvements, including fill, paving, seeding and erosion and sedimentation control. The funding also will be used to purchase a dump truck and a front-end loader with a grappler and other attachments, as well as a wood chipper.
Yard trimmings remain one of the biggest volume contributors to landfills, with more than 483,000 tons of potentially recyclable grass clippings and woody waste being thrown away each year in Pennsylvania.
The planned facility, which will serve 28,000 people in Middletown, Steelton, Highspire and Royalton boroughs and Lower Swatara Township, will have the potential to remove 6,500 tons of yard waste from landfills each year, putting the material to productive use. The composted material will be sold to help offset Middletown Borough’s cost of running the operation, and the mulch will provide ground cover for various residential and municipal landscaping needs.
The state grants reimburse local governments for the cost of municipal recycling and composting programs. Pennsylvania’s recycling program mandates recycling in the state’s larger municipalities and requires counties to develop municipal waste management plans.
Grants are financed by the Recycling Fund, which is supported by a $2 per ton fee on all materials disposed of in landfills in Pennsylvania. “This money will provide much-needed funding for communities that have mandated recycling programs,” McGinty said. “And the grants will ensure that recycling continues to be a strong contributor to Pennsylvania’s economy.”
Pennsylvania’s recycling and reuse industry leads the nation in employment, payroll and sales numbers. More than 3,247 recycling and reuse businesses and organizations made more than $18.4 billion in gross annual sales, paid $305 million in taxes and provided jobs for more than 81,322 employees at an annual payroll of approximately $2.9 billion.
Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat, and his administration ares concerned that the legislature may not pass the governor’s proposed $800 million bond initiative to expand and enhance the Growing Greener program.
Part of the governor’s plan would provide an additional $25 million per year to the Recycling Fund to assist municipalities. The money also will help 42 municipalities newly mandated to recycle as a result of the 2000 federal census.
The legislature has not passed the Governor’s Growing Greener II initiative. Instead, the House of Representatives recently passed a competing plan, GreenPA, introduced by Republican Caucus members.
Although both the Governor’s plan and GreenPA would fund investments in the environment using bond financing, with debt service on the bond paid for with waste-related fees, the two proposals are different. Actual funding levels provided by Green PA would be below those provided by Growing Greener II.
GreenPA provides no funding for recycling programs in Pennsylvania.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.