Recycling Pays Off For 200 Pennsylvania Communities
Pennsylvania has awarded $3.6 million in recycling performance grants to 200 communities for their recycling efforts in 2004.
“Pennsylvania is a national leader in recycling, and we will continue to support the community efforts and innovations that make that possible,” said Governor Edward Rendell.
“Recycling programs across the commonwealth are helping to keep our environment clean and provide a growing source of raw materials for manufacturers across the state. The simple act of separating recyclable materials from trash, repeated in millions of Pennsylvania homes and businesses, has a profound impact on our environment and our economy,” he said.
Governor Rendell noted an innovative contracting practice some of the performance grant recipients in Chester County are using to increase the financial sustainability of their local recycling programs. Upper Uwchlan, Uwchlan and West Bradford townships, along with eight other Chester County municipalities, are participating in the Chester County Solid Waste Authoritys processing and marketing contract.
The contract enables the municipalities to be paid for the recyclable materials collected from their residents, based on an index of current recycled commodity prices.
“Through innovations such as Chester County’s revenue-sharing contracts, and through technology and processing improvements spurred by commonwealth investments, Pennsylvania will continue to be a national leader with a recycling industry that helps to drive our economy,” the governor said.
By the numbers, Pennsylvania’s recycling industry is big. More than 3,247 recycling and reuse businesses and organizations generate more than $18.4 billion in gross annual sales and provide jobs for more than 81,322 employees at an annual payroll of approximately $2.9 billion.
These businesses add more than $305 million in taxes to the state treasury.
In 2004, nearly 4.8 million tons of waste was recovered in Pennsylvania. The economic value of remaking that waste into new and useful products exceeded $113 million.
Communities avoided more than $259 million in disposal costs based on the estimated statewide average disposal cost of $54 per ton.
Pennsylvania’s recyclers save energy, reduce air and water pollution, and limit the need for virgin materials in manufacturing.
Recycling reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the state by 2.1 million metric tons of carbon equivalents per year – equal to six percent of all industrial carbon equivalent emissions from fossil fuel combustion in the state and 2.6 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions.
The state’s recycling programs are supported by a $2 tipping fee on each ton of waste deposited in Pennsylvania landfills. But the fee runs only through 2008. Governor Rendell is working with the Legislature to extend that deadline
Provided by the Environmental News Service.