Cambria County’s long-running recycling program got a financial boost this week with the announcement of a large grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The $231,843 grant to the Cambria County Solid Waste Authority will enable the purchase of a new collection truck needed for the county’s “Big Blue Bin” drop-off recycling program.
“We currently operate three trucks on the road every day, and we have a smaller truck and a backup,” said the authority’s executive director, Kris Howdyshell. “Now we’ll be able to phase out a truck.”
While the authority and county recycling program have been around since 1988, the Big Blue Bin project was started in 1998. Nineteen drop-off locations are available countywide.
Newspaper, corrugated cardboard, steel and aluminum cans, most plastic bottles and jugs and magazines are accepted at the bins. Some of the sites also accept office paper, Howdyshell said.
The authority’s programs annually divert more than
3.7 million pounds of material for recycling across the county, he said.
The grant requires a 10 percent match from the authority. The money is part of a total of $17.8 million the state handed out to 131 municipalities and counties.
The authority will come up with $24,000 from its operational funds to cover a part of the local share, and the remainder will come from in-kind services. DEP has agreed that the authority staff can provide education to a number of commercial establishments to help increase their recycling efforts, Howdyshell said.
“It’s going to make us more efficient, and it will allow us to expand the types of materials we collect,” he said.
In announcing the grant Tuesday, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-East Taylor Township, said the money will help the county to strengthen its recycling program and raise awareness of the importance of recycling.
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