Massachusetts grant targets waste reduction projects

MassDEP announces new reduce, reuse, repair micro-grant for municipalities, waste management companies.

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The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has announced the reduce, reuse, repair micro-grant, which provides up to $5,000 for municipalities, government entities and waste management businesses for “innovative, short-term waste reduction initiatives.”

The grant is designed to complement the Waste Reduction and Organics Capacity project grant, which provides up to $10,000 for long-term waste reduction projects.

“MassDEP hopes to foster grass-roots activities that benefit the environment and local economy by enhancing the value or extending the lifespan of materials that otherwise would end up in the trash,” according to the department.

Eligible projects will promote the reduction of waste produced or extend the life cycle of products through reuse and repair. Examples of grant project ideas are creating a pilot reusable to-go container service program that partners with regional takeout restaurants or launching a construction and demolition building materials reuse program. Funds can be used for research costs, materials, equipment, education and outreach, marketing and new personnel to support the new project.

Applications will be accepted and awarded on a “rolling basis.” Most award decisions will be made within one month of the application submission and approved projects must be complete within one year of receiving the grant.

MassDep has also announced it is accepting applications for its next Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) municipal grant through June 12. The grants support local recycling, composting and organics reuse, source reduction, program development and enforcement activities that increase diversion and reduce disposal.

Last year, MassDEP awarded $5.2 million to 247 communities and regional entities through SMRP. The SMRP grant application provides funding in ten categories, including mattress recycling incentive program, pay-as-you-throw start-up assistance, education and enforcement, food waste collection carts and processed glass aggregate equipment.