HARRISBURG – Gov. Edward G. Rendell underscored the importance of municipal recycling efforts to the economy and the environment today as he announced state investments that will support new and expanded recycling programs benefiting 10 million people in 134 Pennsylvania communities.
In Clearfield County, the Clearfield County Solid Waste was awarded $27,510 to determine how the authority’s recycling program can be sustainable, improve public event recycling, and enhance the authority’s recycling enforcement program.
“Recycling is a dynamic and growing enterprise in Pennsylvania,” said Rendell in announcing $20 million through the Recycling Development and Implementation Grant Program. “The services this investment supports will continue that trend—making participation easier through greater convenience, while also improving existing operations and efficiencies to save valuable local financial resources.
“The more we recycle, the more natural resources we preserve and the better our environment’s health,” the governor said. “And, it’s important to recognize that these investments by the commonwealth come back to us in more jobs and a stronger economy.”
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 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.
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty echoed the economic importance of recycling, and added that reusing materials is also an important factor in Pennsylvania’s drive to energy independence.
“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.
“To put it in perspective, 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. Respectively, 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.”
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.