PA DEP Compost Infrastructure Grants Announced
HARRISBURG, June 20, 2009 -- Grants totaling nearly $400,000 will allow businesses, colleges and farms in six Pennsylvania counties to reduce their organic waste and put what is left to a better use, Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger announced today. “This is an example of making something out of nothing,” said Hanger. “Every year, we simply throw away material that can be reused. Organic material such as food scraps, grass clippings and yard waste can be especially useful. Composting is a basic form of recycling that turns organic materials into a variety of soil products that can be used by farmers and homeowners.”
Roughly one-third of the municipal waste generated in Pennsylvania is organic material. Hanger said that by composting organic waste instead of burying it in landfills, Pennsylvania can free up additional waste disposal space, save money by cutting down on municipal disposal fees, and generate additional business opportunities by creating various nutrient-rich soil additives. Finished compost adds nutrients to soil and increases moisture retention. The Composting Infrastructure Development Grants reimburse for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations up to $100,000 for the purchase of machinery or equipment costs associated with increasing the use of organic materials processed at composting facilities in the commonwealth. There are more than 1,600 municipal recycling programs serving nearly 10 million Pennsylvania residents. The state’s 3,803 recycling and reuse businesses and organizations annually divert more than five million tons of waste from landfill disposal. Their 52,000 jobs have an annual payroll of $2.2 billion and generate more than $20 billion in gross annual sales.
“The average homeowner can help reduce our reusable organic waste stream by creating compost that they can use in their own backyards,” said Hanger. “These grant recipients will be large-scale examples of how composting presents opportunities to turn environmental challenges into beneficial products, while at the same time creating new jobs and stimulating economic growth.”