Hilltown Co-op lands $42K waste disposal grant

For the Recorder
Published: 9/6/2018 9:46:11 AM

The Hilltown Resource Management Cooperative has landed a $42,700 grant to provide recycling, waste disposal technical assistance and sustainability services to 10 member towns, including Ashfield, that will divide the money.

“I came on in 2014 and have been applying for these grants since 2015, because they really help the towns with some of their expenditures at their transfer stations,” HRMC administrator Kathleen Casey said about the Recycling Dividend Program grants.

Administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, funds are awarded under the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program, which recognizes communities for implementing policies and programs that reduce waste and maximize reuse and recycling.

Each town receives payments according to the criteria points their programs earn.

This year’s awards include: $3,850 for Ashfield; $4,550 for Chesterfield; $5,600 for Cummington; $3,850 for Goshen; $3,850 for Huntington; $3,500 for Middlefield; $4,200 for Plainfield; $5,250 for Westhampton; $3,850 for Williamsburg; and $4,200 for Worthington.

The towns must reinvest the grant money into their local recycling programs for things such as new recycling bins, public education and outreach campaigns, the collection of hard-to-recycle items or the establishment of recycling programs in schools, municipal buildings and other public spaces.

All HRMC member-towns have mandatory recycling by-laws and most have adopted a 50 percent recycling goal. The grant awards help bolster the communities’ recycling programs and to facilitate new initiatives and outreach efforts.

Casey said that HRMC’s ongoing partnership and efforts of its member-towns, has a positive impact on reducing the Hilltown carbon footprint and leverages recycling efforts and programs on a regional basis.

“The member towns are pretty good about knowing what can be recycled, but that is not true across the state, where there are problems with recycling contamination,” she said.

Casey said that it is important to keep recycling clean and free of things like plastic bags, electrical wire, hoses and Christmas lights, all of which jam machines and endanger workers.

“We not only have to learn to recycle more and to recycle properly, but people also need to think about what we are consuming and demand that manufacturers be responsible for their packaging,” she said.

Casey said that representatives of the 10 towns will gather every other month to share issues and concerns.


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