To celebrate America Recycles Day on Friday, November 15, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $3.6 million in Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) grants to 54 communities, regional groups and non-profit groups.

The grants, ranging from $3,000 to $300,000, are designed to increase the diversion, reuse, composting and recycling of materials in the solid waste stream.

See a list of the grant awardees here.

Governor Charlie Baker said his administration “is partnering with communities and other organizations to invest in programs that will encourage recycling and waste reduction efforts. Reducing waste by composting, reuse and recycling improves the health of our communities and the vitality of our business sector.”

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said the grants “highlight our administration’s continued efforts to protect the environment and the public health, and support community sustainability. This program supports the important local work that will reduce the waste stream, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preserving our natural resources.”

Funds have been awarded in several categories, including start-up incentives for Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) programs, wheeled-carts for curbside collection of recyclables, large containers for collection of target materials at municipal transfer stations, school recycling assistance programs and innovative waste reduction projects.

Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides said the program helps “reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment for the generations to come. The Commonwealth has an aggressive goal of reducing the waste stream by 80 percent by 2050, and programs like this will help us reach that goal and improve the health of our communities.”

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) administers the SMRP grant program, which was created under the Green Communities Act.

MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg said that “Organics, paper, metals and plastic constitute more than 65 percent of the materials we throw away, and those materials are not waste, but a valuable commodity that should be reused and recycled. When we repurpose these materials, we reduce the waste stream, save money on disposal costs, create renewable energy and stimulate the economy.”

According to Mass Recycle, Massachusetts spends $400,000 to dispose of 4,000 tons of trash each day, costing Massachusetts taxpayers $160 million annually.

Here is more information about the SMRP program.