MDEQ recycling grants available

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has announced the availability of $1 million in grants for local governments to create, improve or expand recycling programs. Grants of up to $400,000 will be available to fund regional recycling cooperative projects conducted by municipalities, counties, regional or local solid waste management authorities, local government recycling cooperatives, local government solid waste districts or other joint local government organizations for the collection, processing and marketing of recyclables.

“We applaud the forward thinking of our Legislature in authorizing this initiative, which allows grants for local governments to work together through co-ops to create or add to recycling programs,” said Trudy Fisher, MDEQ executive director.

“It is estimated that Mississippians spend about $70 million to dispose of recyclables worth an estimated $200 million — we are missing an economic opportunity and unnecessarily placing items in landfills across our state. We expect the new co-ops to move Mississippi another step forward in recycling efforts while also providing economic opportunities.”

A study by the Southeast Recycling Development Council in 2010 of 11 southern states found that the more than 200 companies that use recycled materials in their products in turn equaled 47,525 jobs and $29.5 billion in total sales.  Out of the 11 states, Mississippi ranked 11th in number of employees and eighth in annual sales dollars. This affirms MDEQ’s position of recycling as a potential underutilized economic engine.

The deadline for applications is Dec. 6, and more information and grant application forms can be found at http://bit.ly/16FUAwV.