Forty Pennsylvania counties received a total of $20 million in grants to improve their recycling and composting programs. Overall, 113 different grants were awarded at both the county level as well as to communities within these counties. These grants not only reduce Pennsylvania’s impact on the environment, they also help foster green jobs in the state.

The recycling industry in Pennsylvania is credited with creating 52,000 jobs that draw $2 billion in salary payments each year. The work that these individuals do is also responsible for generating $20 billion in gross receipts.

Although these grants allow these recycling organizations to expand and grow their operations, 2010 may be the last year that they are awarded at this level. The grant funds come from Act 101 of 1988, which imposed a $2/ton tipping fee on any material deposited into a landfill. In order to prevent the cessation of this fee, Pennsylvania Governor Rendell is planning to work with the state’s General Assembly on an extension of the tipping fee.

If Rendell is unsuccessful, the grants will no longer receive a significant portion of their funding. Despite this, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection is already planning on offering grants at a reduced level to continue their support of local recycling programs.

Photo: heks