Kentucky Seeks Recycling Infrastructure Projects

by Devin Katayama on December 27, 2011

Kentucky’s Division of Waste Management is accepting applications for grants that support new recycling infrastructure projects.

Eligible applications promote education programs for recycling and can include partnerships between counties or regions, said Cathy Guess with the state’s recycling assistance program. Interest in recycling infrastructure projects grew last year by 21 applicants to 73, all of which were awarded a grant. Interest has also shown continued growth since its inception in 2007 when 26 grants were awarded.

“What is great about it is that we do have regional efforts going on and that’s like two or more counties, that work together because when you’re talking about a rural county, one of the biggest things in recycling is finding a market for whatever you’re recycling,” said Guess.

Not all areas of the state have a sustainable recycling model, she said. Partnering allows areas that lack a solid recycling program to use an area as a hub, which recycles materials like aluminum cans or milk jugs and allows areas to save money by bypassing often costly processors.

“If you don’t have a market for those (materials) that is fairly close then it could cost you a lot more to try to sell those things so somebody else can use them and make them into another product,” Guess said.

The grants come from the Kentucky Pride Fund, which works to eliminate illegal open dumping. The fund uses the $1.75 collected from each ton of municipal solid waste disposed of in Kentucky landfills.

Each grant requires a 25 percent local “in-kind” contribution, which may include volunteer labor, she said. Grants range widely in amounts, but the total amount distributed has been around $3.5 million the past two years.

Grant applications are being accepted until April 2. Local governments are eligible, along with solid waste management districts, public schools, universities and colleges.

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