BOSTON (MassDEP) – The Baker-Polito Administration announced $3.1 million in grant funding to 268 municipalities and regional solid waste districts across the Commonwealth. The grants, made available through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP), will help municipalities and solid waste districts maximize recycling, composting, and waste reduction programs.
“Communities across the Commonwealth are committed to recycling as a way to protect our environment and the public health,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Funding from the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program will aid municipalities’ efforts to implement innovative programs and policies proven to maximize materials’ reuse, recycling, and waste reduction.”
“The Sustainable Materials Recovery Program provides the support needed for municipalities and solid waste districts to expand their recycling and composting efforts, while targeting new materials to remove from the waste stream,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our Administration is proud to help communities become more sustainable and to achieve their goals of reducing and recycling valuable materials.”
This year, under SMRP, 226 communities qualified for the Recycling Dividends Program (RDP) and will receive payments ranging from $2,100 to $97,500 for a total of $3,120,300. The RDP recognizes municipalities that have implemented policies and programs proven to maximize the reuse and recycling of materials, 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.
“Recycling programs play a vital role in limiting our dependence on landfills and incinerators, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting economic activity across the Commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “These grants will support expanded recycling and waste reduction efforts and help local communities build a more sustainable future.”
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 $46,250 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).
“We recently released the final 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan and expanded material waste ban regulations that have established aggressive goals to reduce our waste disposal and increase recycling,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The SMRP grants announced today will help these 268 communities to partner with us to reach our recycling goals, while capturing more materials for reuse and saving on local disposal costs.”
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 $46 million to recycling programs since 2010. The WEC payments received by MassDEP are deposited into the SMRP Expendable Trust, which is used to fund grants, technical assistance, and education to help communities, businesses and institutions increase recycling and reduce waste.
Nine municipalities will receive payments of at least $50,000: Cambridge and New Bedford at $97,500; Springfield at $71,500; Boston at $70,000, Brockton, Lowell, Newton, and Worcester earning between $60,000 and $70,000; and Chicopee at $52,500. Six municipalities are first-time recipients of Recycling Dividends Program funds, including the Town of Swampscott, which adopted a Pay-As-You-Throw trash reduction program in the last year.
“The Sustainable Materials Recovery Program is a great way for towns around the Commonwealth to boost their municipal recycling,” said Speaker Pro Tempore Kate Hogan (D-Stow). “The Recycling Dividends program that Bolton, Hudson and Maynard participate in helps these communities grow their reuse and recycling programs, ultimately reducing waste and helping our environment.”
“The Sustainable Materials Recovery Program is an important part of how the state supports recycling and waste reduction on a local level, and I am glad that many South Coast communities were recognized and included in this award,” said State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration for their continued efforts to make a greener and more sustainable Commonwealth.”
“I am grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for providing over $70,000 of Recycling Dividend Program (RDP) and Small Scale Initiatives (SSI) Grants to support reduction of waste, reuse of materials and recycling in Acton, Ayer, Boxborough, Harvard, Hudson, Littleton, Marlborough, Maynard, Northborough, and Shirley,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “The disposal of waste materials comes at a great cost to the environment and to taxpayers in the state. Through reduction, reuse and recycling, cities and towns can simultaneously save money and benefit the environment.”
“It is exciting to see towns in the 4th Bristol District being recognized for their sustainability efforts,” said State Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk). “These grants will play a pivotal role in supporting Swansea and Seekonk’s waste reduction efforts.”
See a list of the 268 RDP and Small-Scale grant awards here.
The Baker-Polito Administration continues to prioritize recycling and waste reduction, recently releasing the new 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan and issuing regulations requiring the recycling of textiles and mattresses and increasing the requirements to recycle and reuse food and organic materials. The Master Plan sets a goal to reduce disposal by 30 percent in 2030 and achieve a 90 percent reduction by 2050.
MassDEP’s mission is to protect and enhance the Commonwealth’s natural resources – air, water and land – to provide for the health, safety and welfare of all people, and a clean and safe environment for future generations. In carrying out this mission, MassDEP commits to address and advance environmental justice and equity for all people of the Commonwealth, provide meaningful, inclusive opportunities for people to participate in agency decisions that affect their lives and ensure a diverse workforce that reflects the communities served by the agency.