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Posted on: November 15, 2022

Amherst Awarded Funds & Technical Assistance for Enhancing Recycling & Waste Reduction Efforts

trash and recyclable items strewn on green grass with a green recycling symbol graphic at the center

This week, the Town of Amherst was selected to receive assistance and funding from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) through several of their programs, including the Technical Assistance program and the Recycling Dividends program. Please read on to learn more about each. 

Technical Assistance Grant Through MassDEP

Town of Amherst Department of Public Works was selected to receive assistance through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Technical Assistance program for up to 80 hours of hands-on assistance to develop a project for contracting solid waste and recycling services in Amherst.  

The MassDEP Technical Assistance projects are designed to help municipalities with researching options or implementing changes that will help the municipality reduce waste or enhance recycling. Applicants propose a project that represents a high priority for their community. The program will provide up to 80 hours of technical assistance.  

Amherst’s project seeks to explore a Town-wide contract for waste and recycling hauling services, to provide efficient collection of materials and reduce the direct cost of collection for community members. Currently, residents are required to contract directly with approved haulers.  

The Town is committing staff and resources from various departments to work on the project. The team will include the Solid Waste Division Supervisor, Procurement Officer, Superintendent of Public Works, Town Manager, and Finance Director.  

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said, “I commend the Department of Public Works for taking the initiative to secure these valuable services from a state expert on solid waste. This allocation of expert time will support the Town as we continue to explore how we can improve services to our residents, become more efficient, and address climate issues.” 

At the end of this process, the Town hopes to develop a request for proposal document and collect all pertinent information required to issue a contract to provide the current waste hauling services Town wide. Also, we anticipate this project will gather the information needed to implement access to additional services such as compost, bulky waste, and yard waste collection.  

Amherst Also Awarded Recycling Dividends Program Funds Through MassDEP

 The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has also awarded the Town Recycling Dividends Program funds under the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP). The Town of Amherst has earned 17 points and will receive $10,200.  

Recycling programs play a vital role in limiting our dependence on landfills and incinerators, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting economic activity in the Commonwealth. Recycling Dividend Program (RDP) funds foster investment in local programs including recycling equipment, organics diversion, outreach and education, pilot programs, school recycling, toxics reduction and more. 

The Recycling Dividends Program provides payments to municipalities that have implemented specific programs and policies proven to maximize reuse, recycling, and waste reduction. Municipalities receive payments according to the number of criteria points their program earns and the number of residents that are served by programming. RDP provides an incentive for municipalities to improve their recycling programs by implementing best practices and rewards communities with model recycling and waste reduction programs. 

The Sustainable Materials Recovery Program was created under 310 CMR 19.300-303 and the Green Communities Act, which directs a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Waste Energy Certificates to recycling programs approved by MassDEP. Over $4.2 million in SMRP funding was awarded to 270 municipalities and regional groups in this recent round of funding. 

You can learn more about recycling and solid waste programs in Amherst, such as textile recovery, household hazardous waste collection, yard waste processing, and much more at https://www.amherstma.gov/157 

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