On August 20, the Baker-Polito administration awarded more than $2.6 million in recycling grants to 247 Massachusetts cities, towns, and solid-waste districts, according to a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).
Multiple towns on the Island received grants, including Chilmark, which received $2,800; Edgartown, which received $4,200; and West Tisbury, which received $3,500.
These towns received grants as part of the Recycling Dividends Program, which provides “payments to qualifying municipalities that have implemented specific waste reduction, reuse, and recycling programs and policies,” according to the Mass.gov website.
The Martha’s Vineyard Refuse District received $1,250 in a small-scale payment from the state.
The funds aim to strengthen recycling programs, increase public awareness, and make Massachusetts communities more sustainable, according to the release.
Don Hatch of the Martha’s Vineyard Refuse Disposal and Resource Recovery District told The Times the grants are for any waste-reduction initiatives that would benefit from additional funding. “The money is basically to help improve recycling and composting projects on the Island,” Hatch said. “It’s all about reducing the total waste stream.”
A “recycle smart” initiative is another part of the grants awarded. This initiative and accompanying website informs consumers on their essential role in making recycling more efficient and how to recycle properly. The website includes a recycling guide, an informational video, and a page with frequently asked recycling questions.
According to the release, it is important for people to know what can and cannot be recycled. Things like shopping bags, clothes, and old garden hoses can get caught in recycling factory machinery and cause the machines to stop, as well as endanger workers.