Recycling Programs Benefit Municipalities, Environment and Manufacturers says Rendell

HARRISBURG – More than 100 municipal recycling programs across the state will be able to expand—protecting Pennsylvania’s environment and providing more low-cost materials to manufacturers—with the help of nearly $3 million in state investments announced by Gov. Edward G. Rendell.
Sandy Township received a grant in the amount of $5,097.

“These recycling investments will continue helping local governments improve their collections programs so more reusable materials are delivered to Pennsylvania manufacturers instead of landfills,” Rendell said. “By avoiding the additional energy needed to produce virgin raw materials for manufacturing, we are reducing our energy dependence and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. And, with more low-cost, high-quality materials going to our manufacturers, we’re helping to create a competitive environment where these companies can grow.”

The commonwealth’s commitment to recycling has led to record collection levels and more efficient programs. 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.

The grants awarded today reflect 2005 collections.

Pennsylvania is home to more than 3,200 recycling and reuse businesses and organizations that generate more than $18 billion in gross annual sales and provide paychecks totaling $2.9 billion to more than 81,000 employees. Additionally, these businesses add more than $305 million in taxes to the state treasury.

However, the state’s record of recycling success does not shield local programs from the growing challenge of high energy costs.

“Just as our families and businesses are feeling the pinch of rising energy costs, so too are local governments, and that directly affects the resources they have available to provide needed services,” said the governor. “Reusing materials and reducing our demand for energy are important factors in lowering demand, which can help drive down prices.”

Pennsylvania’s recycling efforts save energy, reduce air pollution and limit the need for virgin materials in manufacturing. The materials recycled in Pennsylvania during 2005 saved almost 98 trillion British thermal units of energy – equivalent to the output of three large coal-fired power plants.

Recycling is one avenue all Pennsylvanians can participate in reducing greenhouse gas emission. Pennsylvania’s record-setting recycling performance in 2005 helped to reduce emissions by an equivalent of more than 2.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is like offsetting the emissions produced by 1.7 million cars and light trucks.

“By investing in our municipalities, Pennsylvania is continuing its leadership in recycling,” said Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty. “Beyond financial support, we also provide technical assistance and work to stimulate new markets through the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center. These investments will ensure local recycling programs across the state can meet their energy and financial challenges down the road.”

Recycling performance grants reward communities based on the amount of recyclable materials collected. More cans, bottles, newspapers and other materials collected mean larger grants for the recycling programs – and more materials for manufacturers.

DEP has approved 658 of the 800 performance grant applications received for calendar year 2005 recycling. The remaining applications are being reviewed and additional grant awards may be announced in the coming months.

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