Environment News Service (ENS)

Environment News Service (ENS)

Pennsylvania invests $20m in community recycling


Source: Environment News Service (ENS)

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell says the state will spend $20 million to support new and expanded recycling programs benefiting 10 million people in 134 communities across the state.

Counties, cities and townships will purchase recycling containers, establish a drop-off recycling programs, yard waste collection and composting, and augment recyclable materials processing.

'Recycling is a dynamic and growing enterprise in Pennsylvania,' said the governor Friday, announcing $20 million in funding through the Recycling Development and Implementation Grant Program.

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty said reusing materials is an important factor in Pennsylvania's drive to energy independence.

'To put it in perspective,' she said, 'the materials Pennsylvanians recycled in 2005 saved almost 98 trillion British thermal units of energy and cut more than 2.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the air.

'That's the equivalent of eliminating the output from three large coal-fired power plants and taking 1.7 million cars and light trucks off the road,' McGinty said.

The Recycling Development and Implementation Grant Program reimburses local governments, councils of government, consortiums and solid waste authorities for the cost of municipal recycling and composting programs.

Pennsylvania's recycling program, created under Act 101 of 1988, mandates recycling in the state's larger municipalities and requires counties to develop municipal waste management plans.

'The more we recycle, the more natural resources we preserve and the better our environment's health,' said Governor Rendell. 'And, it's important to recognize that these investments by the commonwealth come back to us in more jobs and a stronger economy.'
One of the largest grants will go to Pittsburgh, which will receive $499,695 to enhance downtown and small business recycling.

Blair County will receive $500, 000 to improve, enhance and expand recycling efforts in Altoona, Holidaysburg, Tyrone and Logan and to increase diversion of leaf and yard waste to the Blair County compost site.

Union County will get $492,044 to improve the county-wide recycling program and implement a commercial food waste composting program.

In 2005, Pennsylvanians recycled a record 4.86 million tons of municipal waste, saving consumers and industries nearly $263 million in disposal costs and providing businesses with materials valued at $577 million.

'Recycling is an important tool in growing Pennsylvania's economy and for protecting our environment, but it also plays a role in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and other fossil fuels,' said McGinty. 'Greater levels of recycling mean fewer natural resources have to be extracted from the earth and manufactured into finished products. The supply chain and production processes associated with that conversion consumes an incredible amount of energy, scars the planet, and creates a tremendous amount of air pollution.

The commonwealth's recycling and reuse industry includes more than 3,200 establishments with total annual sales of $18.4 billion. The industry employs more than 81,000 people and has an annual payroll of $2.9 billion. Additionally, these businesses add more than $305 million in taxes to the state treasury.

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