The state has handed out some gifts to Palmer and Forks Townships.
State Rep. Joe Emrick, R-Northampton, who represents Forks and Palmer Townships, has announced that Palmer Township and Forks Township have received recycling grants through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Palmer Township was awarded $250,000 while Forks will get $52,053, Emrick stated in congratulating both townships. He said that Upper Nazareth Township, which is also in his district, was awarded $237,292. Williams Township is also receiving a $250,000 grant.
They are among 131 in the state to share $17.8 million in recycling grants, Emrick said.
"Recycling plays a key role in improving Pennsylvania’s economy and protecting its environment," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "These grants further that cause, and DEP is proud to invest in local programs that help the awardees strengthen their recycling programs."
Through the grant program, municipalities and counties in Pennsylvania are eligible for up to 90 percent funding of approved recycling program costs. Municipalities that are designated financially distressed under the Financial Distressed Communities Act are eligible to receive funding for an additional 10 percent of approved costs.
Examples of eligible projects include operating compost facilities; developing web-based programs on recycling for consumers; expanding recycling processing facilities; installing data collection systems on recycling vehicles; continuing and creating curbside recycling programs; and developing educational materials to encourage residents to recycle.
"This is really good news," Forks Township Manager John Cornell informed officials at the recent Forks Township Board of Supervisors worksession.
Cornell said the grant will be used to transform the old public works facility on Frost Hollow Road into the township's recycling center.
"The money is earmarked specifically for our recycling initiative," Forks Finance Director James Farley said.
Both Palmer and Forks have made great strides in the past year, working with recycling coordinator Cindy Oatis to get on the same page with the state in terms of recycling requirements.
Forks worked to restructure its recycling efforts, including scheduling a spring cleanup, in hopes of landing a state grant.
Palmer changed its trash collection system, placing a stronger emphasis on recycling. That new system goes into effect May 1.
This is the 53rd round of grants being awarded since the inception of the Pennsylvania Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act in 1988, also known as Act 101.
Act 101 mandates recycling in municipalities with more than 10,000 residents and those with populations between 5,000 and 10,000 that have population densities greater than 300 people per square mile.
Currently, 440 of Pennsylvania’s 2,700 municipalities are required to recycle and provide curbside collection programs.