While what we traditionally think of as recycling - cans, bottles, paper - are great opportunities for every American to help protect the environment, there are other ways that communities, industry and institutions can extend recycling to land and buildings.
Reusing previously contaminated properties (often referred to as brownfields) is also recycling. These cleaned-up properties can help reinvigorate communities, preserve green space, and prevent sprawl. According to a 2001 report by George Washington University, “. . .for every acre of contaminated property reused, approximately 4.5 acres of greenspace is preserved.”
Recycled or revitalized land and buildings can be used in many ways -- from the creation of public parks and the restoration of ecological systems, to the construction of community development projects and the establishment of new businesses.
To encourage this kind of land and facility recycling, EPA meets with property owners, state officials, developers and communities to design practical solutions to property transfers, facility cleanups and redevelopment at cleanup sites. EPA has assisted in the redevelopment of both private and federally-owned sites.
The region has also developed a Land Revitalization Action Team (LRAT) to respond and handle public and private inquiries regarding the revitalization of formerly contaminated property. Redevelopment of these cleaned-up properties involve legal, health and safety, environmental, and financial issues.
EPA also offers a variety of grant, loan and technical assistance programs to help assess and clean up contaminated sites and make them ready for revitalization.
In early 2002 the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, commonly known as the Brownfields law, went into effect, and between then and 2005, the latest data available, EPA and its partners assessed 7,248 sites; offered 881 assessment grants, made 80 loans totaling $37.2 million; awarded 202 Revolving Loan Fund Grants; trained 2,627 people and awarded 256 cleanup grants putting thousands to work and revitalizing hundreds of sites in communities across the nation.
For more information on how you can benefit go to Region 3’s Land Revitalization website: http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/bf-lr/