Grants to Help Reduce Amount of Organic Waste Disposed in Landfills

Published on May 10, 2008 at 2:39 AM

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty announced today that businesses and nonprofit organizations can now apply for a portion of $400,000 in grants to help increase the use of composted materials in finished products and reduce the amount of organic waste disposed in landfills.

"Often, people don't stop to think about what is going into the trash, but by diverting useful materials from landfills we can protect the environment, create jobs and save money," said McGinty. "Organic waste such as food, grass clippings, leaves and brush account for more than one-third of all the trash entering Pennsylvania's landfills. These grants provide incentives for businesses to find value in these organic materials and turn what was once waste into a useable product."

McGinty added that diverting organic materials from the waste stream conserves landfill space and saves disposal costs paid by local governments and businesses.

The Composting Infrastructure Development Grant Program aims to increase the volume of organic materials being diverted from landfills and helps businesses increase the use of organic materials in finished products. Applications will be accepted until July 18 and are available at http://www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Compost.

The grant program awards for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations up to $100,000 for projects that incorporate recovered organic materials into products or increase the amount of organic material processed at composting facilities.

Additional consideration will be given to applications that are developed in consultation with the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center. Additional information is available at http://www.parmc.org or by phone at (717) 948-6660.

The program is open to start-up operations, as well as existing compost facilities. Applications will not be accepted from previous grant recipients, although this restriction will be re-evaluated in subsequent grant rounds.

Composting is a natural process that involves expediting the decomposition process for organic waste by keeping the material moist and turning it regularly to increase aeration. Microorganisms break down organic materials such as leaves, grass and vegetable scraps, forming a nutrient-rich soil enhancement called compost or humus.

Finished compost adds nutrients to soil and increases moisture retention. Woody materials from yard waste can be used to create mulch for beautifying landscapes or controlling weeds.

Pennsylvania's recycling and reuse industry leads northeastern states 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.

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