SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley today announced that $3.2 million is available to assist local governments, businesses, and other public and private sector entities enhance their recycling efforts. The programs are funded through the Solid Waste Management fund, which is a dedicated funding source that is supported by a surcharge on garbage being landfilled in Illinois.
“Recycling used materials can create six to 10 times more jobs as opposed to discarding them in a landfill,” said Director Ribley. “This funding will help public and private sector entities across the state increase their recycling efforts, helping them save on energy and reduce waste, while also creating new ‘green sector’ jobs, which will help fuel our economic growth.”
The State Energy Office at DCEO, Division of Recycling and Waste Reduction, administers four core programs:
• Illinois Recycling Grants Program (IRGP) provides matching grants to assist local governments and businesses fund traditional recycling (fiber, plastic, metal and glass) projects. Applications for the IRGP program are currently being accepted. The applications are due March 16, 2011, and are available at www.illinoisrecycles.com. Grant funds may be used to purchase project-related capital equipment such as collection, processing or handling equipment and project-related expansion and modernization costs.
• Recycling Expansion and Modernization Program (REM) provides matching grants to Illinois businesses to accomplish recycling market expansion and waste reduction goals.
• Food Scrap Composting Revitalization & Advancement Program (F-SCRAP) will fund projects to advance Illinois’ food scrap composting infrastructure. Food scraps from households, grocery stores, farmer's markets, restaurants, college facilities, and food packaging operations account for 12 percent of all municipal solid waste landfilled in Illinois.
• The Zero Waste Schools Program provides educational and technical assistance about zero waste programs and practices to Illinois schools.
An economic impact study released by DCEO last year details the vital role the recycling industry plays in the Illinois economy. The study indicates 40,000 people in 2,173 Illinois establishments are directly employed in the industry, and that recycling is responsible for 111,500 direct, indirect and induced jobs with a $3.6 billion payroll. In terms of total economic activity, the industry is responsible for $30.3 billion in gross receipts.
Businesses, non-profits and governments can also utilize two free resources online, Recycling Works: A Toolkit for Reducing Waste in the Workplace, and the Illinois Commodity/Waste Generation and Characterization Study. The toolkit provides organizations with current information to evaluate and establish cost-effective and sustainable waste reduction programs, while the characterization study shows the quantity of recyclable commodities still being landfilled and where to capture their economic value. The resources are available at www.illinoisrecycles.com.