Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear awarded dozens of waste grants Tuesday to help expand recycling and household hazardous waste programs throughout the commonwealth.
The Energy and Environment Cabinet will give out $3.5 million through the Kentucky Pride Fund to 73 local governments across the state. The money comes from a $1.75 fee collected for each ton of municipal solid waste disposed of in state landfills.
State environmental scientist Tom Heil says counties have had difficulties starting recycling programs without the additional funding.
“Since solid waste management is a county responsibility what they’ll use that money for is to either establish or build up their recycling programs,” he says. “The state realized that counties could not establish recycling programs because of the high cost of the recycling equipment.”
The grant awards represent an increase of 21 recycling grants and 4 household waste grants awarded for the previous grant cycle. Heil says there is a growing interest in recycling at the county level, which makes the application process very competitive.
“We had to take a hard look at what is already happening in certain regions, who hasn’t applied for anything before or gotten anything before. What the real need was in certain areas of the state because we need to build a recycling infrastructure throughout the commonwealth,” he says.
The grants require a 25 percent local matching funds in the form of cash or “in kind” personnel, educational materials, educational activities and advertising to promote the program from the cities or counties receiving the awards.
Louisville Metro Government did not apply for a waste grant this year.