Massachusetts' Baker-Polito Administration awards US$4.2M to support recycling, waste reduction programs across 270 municipalities; fund to help Recycling Dividends Program, pay-as-you-throw programs, wheeled-carts for curbside recyclables, food waste

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BOSTON , November 18, 2022 (press release) –

To mark America Recycles Day, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced $4.2 million in grant funding to 270 municipalities and regional solid waste districts across the Commonwealth. The grants, made available through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) and approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), will help communities maximize their recycling, composting, and waste reduction programs.

“One of the most effective measures we can take to reduce the waste stream in communities across the Commonwealth is to support and encourage recycling, diversion, and reuse of waste materials,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With this funding, we are ensuring that local officials, residents and small business owners can adopt practices that protect our environment and preserve Massachusetts’ natural resources.”

“Our Administration partners with local communities and their residents to help recycle and reuse as much material as possible, diverting it from the waste stream and protecting our environment,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This funding will support local and state recycling efforts that help to reduce harmful emissions, create jobs and build a more sustainable future.”

This year, under SMRP, 265 communities qualified for the Recycling Dividends Program (RDP) and will receive payments ranging from $245 to $110,500 for a total of $3,367,290. The RDP recognizes municipalities that have implemented policies and programs proven to maximize materials reuse and recycling, as well as waste reduction. Added this year was a criterion that provided funding to municipalities that included Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in their trash and recycling programs. Reuse categories were also added that provided funds for incentivizing pilot deconstruction projects and single-use plastic bans. Curbside collection of food waste was also incentivized with additional funding.

“The Sustainable Materials Recovery Program offers vital funding for recycling, composting, reuse, and source-reduction activities that will reduce the amount of waste disposed in both landfills and incinerators,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “Importantly, waste prevention and recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions by capturing the embodied energy in every-day product and packaging waste and converting these sources into new products with a smaller carbon footprint.”

Funds have been awarded in several categories, including start-up incentives for Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) programs, wheeled-carts for curbside collection of recyclables, wheeled carts for curbside collection of food waste, drop-off equipment for the collection of mercury-bearing items, regional small-scale initiatives, and the Recycling Dividends Program. This year, the program listed a subset of Environmental Justice municipalities that earned additional funding, including Chelsea, Holyoke, Leominster, Medford, Pittsfield, Quincy, Randolph, Somerville, and Southbridge.

“Our 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan has expanded material waste ban regulations that have established aggressive goals to reduce our waste disposal and increase recycling and reuse,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The SMRP grants will help these 270 communities to join with us to reach our recycling goals, while reducing our waste stream, assisting EJ communities, and saving on local disposal costs.”

Under the program, $267,000 in PAYT funds were awarded to the Town of Westford, while $8,350 in PAYT funds were awarded to the Town of Plympton. Westford was also awarded $93,450 and the Town of Shrewsbury received $214,000 for wheeled carts for curbside collection of recyclables. The City of Taunton was awarded $20,000 and the Town of Lexington received $8,000 for pilot programs in the curbside collection of food waste. The City of Watertown was awarded $130,000 for the expansion of their existing curbside collection of food waste program. The communities of Canton, Freetown, Greenfield, Hardwick, Hudson, North Adams, Royalston, and Taunton were each awarded $5,000 for Universal Waste Sheds for their drop-off facilities for the collection of mercury-bearing items. 

Fourteen municipalities will receive payments of at least $50,000: Westford for a total of $360,450; Shrewsbury at $214,000; Watertown at $130,000; Cambridge at $110,500; Boston at $100,000; New Bedford at $91,000; Brockton at $80,000; Springfield and Worcester at $71,500; Newton at $68,000; Chicopee, Lawrence, and Lowell at $56,000; and Framingham at $52,000.

“Addressing the generational challenge of climate change impacts on our environment requires that we embrace sustainable practices in every part of community life and in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “Recycling – as waste reduction and as materials procurement – makes complete economic and environmental sense and is a key area where the legislature is eager to reward cities and towns that go above and beyond in their efforts. I'd like to thank MassDEP and the Administration for their work to see through the legislature's vision in support of those leading environmental sustainability efforts at the local level.”

“Massachusetts residents are committed to protecting the environment with a combination of reducing the waste stream, increasing recycling, and re-using materials – these grants help push us forward on our path to a more sustainable future,” said State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “I am delighted that communities in our area, and across the state that carry out critical programs to make recycling work are being recognized and supported for their stewardship efforts because it helps both our environment and our quality of life.”

“Recycling is a critical part of our communities’ environmental health and commitment to reducing carbon emissions," said State Senator Becca Rausch (D-Needham). "The Sustainable Materials Recovery Program will continue to incentivize sustainable waste management strategies across our Commonwealth, and I am heartened to see such strong municipal commitment to sustainable waste management and environmental justice. As Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture, I remain dedicated to advancing sustainability strategies in partnership with our federal, state, and local government partners."

“To reduce Massachusetts’ carbon footprint, it is critical that we find ways to divert waste from landfills and incinerators by promoting more reuse and recycling,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “The grants provided by MassDEP through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program will help communities across the Commonwealth continue to work towards achieving this worthy environmental goal. This is another example of the many successful state-municipal partnerships that have been a hallmark of the Baker-Polito Administration over the last eight years.”

“I am grateful to our partners at MassDEP for making available critically important funds for municipalities to invest in their local recycling infrastructure,” said State Representative Mindy Domb (D-Amherst), Acting House Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “With support from these state-funded grant programs, our investments in waste reduction and increased recycling today will pay dividends for the future for our environment and our Commonwealth, in addition to demonstrating the shared responsibility for this effort."

See a list of the 270 SMRP grant awards on MassDEP’s webpage regarding the program. The SMRP grant program was created under 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 $50 million to recycling programs since 2010.

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.


Media Contactfor Baker-Polito Administration Awards $4.2 Million to Support Recycling and Waste Reduction Programs for Communities and Regional Groups

Call Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs at 617-292-5737

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