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Grant to CET – help towns reduce, reuse, recycle

Rural towns, businesses and individuals in western Massachusetts are eligible for help increasing recycling, composting, reducing and managing their waste through a $90,000 grant award to the Center for Ecological Technology (CET) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development.

This new funding will enable CET to help communities with fewer than 10,000 residents divert waste from landfills and combustion facilities through waste reduction, reuse and recycling. “We’re excited to be able to work with a broad range of groups in western Mass,” said Jamie Cahillane, director of recycling services for CET.

Businesses, schools and other groups often struggle with how to safely dispose of items like spent fluorescent bulbs, outdated electronics, rechargeable batteries, and household hazardous waste. CET staff will work with schools, farms and businesses to increase the amount of organic food waste being composted. CET will teach school children about the importance of reducing waste during the holidays and utilizing reused materials for gifts and wrapping paper. CET will assist schools with necessary recycling programs. In addition, CET waste management specialists will be available to conduct presentations or lead discussions on such topics as how to compost, how to reduce waste or how to use less toxic products at home and in the garden.

In western Massachusetts, communities have an economic incentive to recycle. Most western Massachusetts towns receive an average of more than $20 for every ton of recyclables that they bring to the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility.

“The production, transport and disposal of items that are no longer wanted results in greenhouse gases that directly contribute to climate change,” said CET Co-Director Laura Dubester. “Recycling and reducing waste are easy steps that everyone can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions-at home, at work and in our communities.”

“Keeping scenic, western Massachusetts beautiful requires the best practices to safeguard the environment,” said John Olver (D-1st District.) “Know-how is essential to waste reduction, reuse and recycling. This grant will provide communities, businesses and schools with valuable tools to preserve what’s unique about our area.”

“USDA Rural Development has been working with CET for several years now and we are very pleased to continue to support their efforts toward waste reduction and education about reuse and recycling,” said Rural Development State Director Jay Healy. “Our agency’s mission is to improve the quality of life in rural America and CET has proven to be a great partner in that endeavor.”

For more information, contact Jamie Cahillane at jamiec@cetonline.org or call 413-445-4556, ext. 14. The Center for Ecological Technology (CET) is a non-profit energy and resource conservation and waste management organization serving western Massachusetts, with offices in Pittsfield, Northampton and Springfield. CET is an equal opportunity provider and is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

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