- The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has awarded $714,000 to 24 recipients through its Recycling Assistance Grant Program, as reported by Recycling Today.
- Recipients include schools, municipalities and businesses — including Republic Services of Wilmington — throughout the state. The funds, provided through a competitive matching grant program, will be used on a range of reduction, recycling and reuse programs.
- The grant program is now in its sixth year and has provided more than $8.5 million in funding through 112 grants so far. Funding comes from a 4-cent beverage fee paid by retailers and proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
These grants are part of Delaware's Universal Recycling Law signed by Governor John Markell in 2010 which has been credited with boosting the state's diversion rate to nearly 43%. Past grants have also gone toward education, food waste diversion and other key areas.
While Delaware's population of less than 1 million may seem manageable compared to that of other states or large cities it still faces many of the same problems when it comes to recycling. A mix of urban and rural areas require different collection strategies, e-waste recycling is not currently profitable and communities have been resistant to siting new organics processing facilities after bad experiences with the Peninsula compost facility in 2014.
Grant money, whether it's from states or other organizations, can't fully solve these challenges but it will help some of the communities that are directly affected by them. As the industry continues to adapt, Delaware offers an interesting microcosm of how diversion rates can be increased through small-scale changes that could be useful on a national level.