Four Worcester County municipalities and one Worcester-based organization were among 51 groups across the state to receive $2.38 million in grants to promote recycling, composting and waste reduction.
According to a news release from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the following Sustainable Materials Recovery Program grants were announced earlier this month:
• Clinton – $6,000 for a shed for a swap shop;
• Uxbridge – $13,060 for school recycling equipment and $8,000 for school recycling implementation assistance;
• Warren – $6,000 for a shed for swap shop and $7,500 for mattress recycling equipment;
• Westboro – $115,500 for wheeled recycling carts and $165,000 for pay-as-you-throw startup funds;
• MetroWest/Greater Worcester Habitat for Humanity – $68,751 for waste reduction project in its ReStore startup.
Kristin E. Black, health agent with the Uxbridge Board of Health, said the grant funds will be used to institutionalize more recycling in schools and expand food waste diversion programs throughout the school district. The grant will pay for 600 reusable lunchroom trays to replace Styrofoam ones, additional 50-gallon recycling bins and composting equipment at each school. There will also be four water bottle refilling stations with filters installed in each school and local Green Team coordinators, who will receive a stipend.
The November grant awards were the second round of grants awarded statewide this year.
“Organics, paper, metals and plastic constitute more than 65 percent of the materials we throw away today, and the Commonwealth has made it a priority to recycle and compost at least half of that valuable material by 2020,” said Martin Suuberg, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, in a statement. “These grants will help us meet this aggressive goal.”
Among the grants awarded, an incentive program to pay for the cost of recycling residential mattresses collected, such as one awarded to the town of Warren, is now in its second year. Very little mattress recycling occurs in the state, even though about 90 percent of a mattress’s components are recyclable, according to the DEP release.