Greenfield Receives $2 Million EPA Grant for Recycling Infrastructure Upgrades
GREENFIELD – Recycling management systems in Greenfield will undergo a modern transformation thanks to a $2.05 million grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The funding will help transition the Greenfield DPW from its manually sorted, dual-stream recycling collection system to a single-stream, fully automated recycling collection method. This change will provide a multi-faceted benefit to the city and its residents.
The grant award stems from the EPA’s newly established Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grant program, known as SWIFR. Greenfield is among 25 awarded applicants out of over 330 applications submitted nationwide, and the only grant recipient in New England.
The automated vehicle fleet will holistically improve the DPW's recycling management process. The DPW’s current recycling vehicles are aging and require maintenance. Thanks to the grant funding, the department will integrate modern vehicles while saving significant financial resources for other DPW needs.
Automated collection vehicles will substantially reduce carbon emissions and other air pollutants, tying in with the EPA’s goals of tackling the climate crisis and ensuring clean air for all communities. The vehicles double the size of the DPW’s current recycling vehicles, allowing the waste management teams to double their current route efficiency by cutting out stops to the Transfer Station. The automated vehicles will also be more fuel-efficient than the current recycling fleet. These features will reduce approximately 710 kg of C02 per metric ton collected.
The Greenfield Transfer Station will receive processing area upgrades to coincide with the single-stream collection process. The changes will increase efficiency in the processing of collected materials.
Along with easing the recycling process, automated vehicles provide a safer environment for recycling management workers to perform their duties. A manually sorted collection process requires staff members to exit their vehicles at each stop and sort recycled materials, often exposing them to hazardous conditions and potential injuries. An automated process removes that potential risk, allowing collection teams to perform their duties from the safety of their vehicles.
In addition, residents will enjoy efficiency improvements with the new collection carts that will be issued city-wide. The carts will be able to hold up to five times more recyclable materials thanks to their larger size, with the inclusion of lids for the new carts reducing the potential for litter. The new carts will be integrated at no expense to residents.
“We are honored to be chosen as a Massachusetts recipient of this outstanding grant and grateful to the EPA and Biden Administration for selecting Greenfield,” said Mayor Roxann Wedegartner. “We are a small city that has made a commitment over the last two decades to focus on sustainability. Our recycling program is a linchpin in those sustainability and energy efficiency efforts. The opportunity to upgrade our whole recycling program from manual to automated has major financial benefits for our city from potentially fewer injuries to our staff, fuel use savings with new trucks, to significant upgrades to the existing processing area at the transfer station.”
“This grant is a home run for the city,” said DPW Director Marlo Warner. “I am very grateful to EPA for this grant. From an operations perspective, it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve our operations and efficiency. I also want to thank Grant Writer Athena Bradley for working with the DPW team to help us submit a comprehensive grant application.”
The city will create an educational campaign to promote the new management system and its positive impacts. The DPW anticipates the total implementation time needed for the recycling collection transformation project to take at least one year. Transitioning from a manual to a fully automated recycling system will cost approximately $2.94 million. The city will allocate capital and general funds to finance the remaining estimate of $880,000 before receiving a grant match from the EPA.
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