Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste Grants Benefit Kentucky Communities

Last year, Kentucky’s recycling rate for common household items (such as glass, paper, metal and plastics) was 34.3 percent, keeping pace with the national average of 34.1 percent. Much of Kentucky’s recycling success has been due to the Kentucky Division of Waste Management, Recycling Assistance Section’s approval of almost $17 million in Kentucky Pride Fund-financed recycling and household hazardous waste (HHW) grants.

The Kentucky Pride Fund receives money collected from an environmental remediation fee of $1.75 per ton of waste disposed of in Kentucky landfills. Since 2007, a percentage of that money has been used to create and distribute recycling and HHW grants to counties, cities and other political subdivisions of the state, including public school districts and universities.

These grant programs impose certain requirements for recipients of the grants, such as: the grantee shall provide a 25 percent match to the grant amount (which may consist of in-kind services), the grantee shall demonstrate that the proposed project will remain financially viable after the grant funds have been expended, and the grantee shall demonstrate that the service added by the project is needed and would otherwise be unavailable within the proposed service area. Projects that create opportunities for regional (meaning two or more counties participating in one venture) recycling or HHW management are given funding priority.

“The goal of these grants is to build recycling infrastructure in Kentucky communities,” said Division of Waste Management Director Tony Hatton. “Regional efforts are typically more economically viable due to being able to recycle more total tonnage with less overhead than multiple programs in individual counties.”

Over the years, numerous eligible entities have applied for and received these Kentucky Pride Fund grants. In fiscal year 2012 alone, 44 recycling grants and 17 HHW grants, totaling almost $4 million, were awarded to purchase various pieces of recycling equipment (i.e., balers and trailers) and vendor services for the collection, transfer and destruction of HHW materials.

“The recycling grants are the greatest thing that has happened to our county in several years,” said Gerald Hines, Pulaski County Solid Waste Coordinator. “We have established a regional recycling center to work with over 300 businesses and 25 schools within the area. All of this would be impossible without the super relationship we have with the Division of Waste Management.”

In the chart provided below, you will notice how Kentucky’s recycling rate has been on the rise, with a major spike following 2007 when the Kentucky Pride Fund Recycling Grant Programs began. Since recycling rates often correspond with the ups and downs of the nation’s economy, years 2008 and 2009 show a dip that is likely associated with the recent economic downturn.

Of course, recycling is not conducted simply as a “feel-good” exercise; it provides raw materials for important Kentucky industries. According to a 2010 study by the Southeast Recycling Development Council, there are at least 17 major manufacturers in Kentucky that depend on recycled material for their feedstock (including Novelis, which operates the worlds largest aluminum can recycling plant in Berea). Altogether, these companies total more than $3.8 billion in annual sales, and employ more than 4,300directly in the manufacture of recycled content products.

“The Kentucky Pride Fund Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste Grants have made it possible for many in our smaller Kentucky communities to enjoy the benefits that often were only available in the larger cities,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters. “And increasing our recycling rates benefits the industries in our state that rely on those materials for their manufacturing processes.”

For more information on the Recycling and HHW Grant Programs contact:
Gary Logsdon, Branch Manager
Recycling and Local Assistance Branch
Kentucky Division of Waste Management
200 Fair Oaks Lane, 2nd floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: 502-564-6716, ext. 4636