Grants provide opportunities for communities to tackle waste disposal problems

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It’s not the most glaring thing to talk about, but without grants, many central Missouri communities might not be able to offer their residents an opportunity to reduce the amount of litter that goes to landfill.

The Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District is currently processing small grant applications sent to its Colombia office and will do the same if large preliminary grant applications are received after the end of November.

Governments, schools, corporations, nonprofits, or individuals can apply for small grants, up to $ 10,000. The large grants can go up to $ 100,000 for projects in Counties of Cole, Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Cooper, Howard, Moniteau, and Osage. A 15 percent match is required from those approved to receive a grant.

“These are offered each year in the 20 districts across the state,” said Mid-Missouri district planner Elise Buchheit. “We carry out two approval procedures every year, and there must be ways of reducing or diverting waste that ends up in landfills.”

Buchheit said much of the funding has focused on composting in recent years.

“We worked on setting up composting at home and a project for composting schools in Boone County,” said Buchheit. “We focused on schools because food waste is one of the bigger parts of landfills.”

Jefferson City received a $ 63,622.50 grant for a project that ran from April 2015 to April 2017. Funds from this grant were used to purchase a new dedicated glass loader to move glass more efficiently from the purple Ripple Glass collection bins to the shipping trailers.

Buchheit said the equipment is vital to the continuation of the glass recycling program. Republic Services does not offer glass recycling, so the glass drop-off points are the only option for residents to recycle their glass containers.

In smaller cities, according to Buchheit, only basic recycling is limited, so that money is often used to improve an existing location or to set up a recycling container in a community.

“We also see that a lot of grant money is being used to improve locations where illegal dumping takes place,” said Buchheit. “The aim of the grants is to provide people with a consistent service so that they can recycle efficiently.”

During the pandemic, Buchheit found that many recycling services had to be scaled back, so some grants are being used to bring those services back.

“Landfills across Missouri are having to close because they are reaching full capacity, making waste disposal more expensive,” said Buchheit. “That means longer driving times for trucks to and from landfills.

“We have to address our waste problem now,” added Buchheit. “The space is there now, but it is being devoured quickly. This is a topic that permeates all socio-economic levels. I think most people want us to waste less and conserve our resources. “


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