The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Recycling Program has provided $492,937 in recycling business development grants to 16 North Carolina recycling companies. The grants are projected to create 108 new jobs and generate more than $1.3 million in new, private business investments while reducing the state’s dependence on landfill disposal.
“Recycling businesses provide high quality jobs for North Carolinians and play a unique role in boosting the state’s economy while improving the state’s environmental and carbon footprint,” said Jamie Ragan, director of the Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service. “These grant-funded projects will create jobs and put recyclable materials back into the state’s economy, thereby helping manufacturers make new products, reducing North Carolina’s reliance on foreign markets and ultimately diverting material from the waste stream.”
For the fourth year in a row, DEQ gave priority to projects that improve North Carolina’s capacity to domestically process and use mixed paper and non-bottle plastics, which can no longer be exported to foreign countries. Strengthening local markets leads to more resilient recycling programs and better value for these materials when diverted from landfill disposal.
The recycling business grantees are from 13 counties, representing both large and small companies. Types of grant projects awarded include expanding plastic processing capacity, upgrading material recovery facilities and improving recycling markets for other materials.
Grants are offered each year, depending on funding availability, to reduce the flow of solid waste into landfills and continue growing the state’s recycling economy. Recipients are required to provide a minimum cash match of 50 percent of the grant award; however, the level of private investment in 2021 is expected to more than double the total grant funding. The combination of grant and private dollars will result in a nearly $1.8 million investment in the state’s recycling infrastructure.
The Recycling Business Assistance Center (RBAC) in DEQ’s Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service works one-on-one with recycling companies to provide technical, business and financial assistance. In the past five years, RBAC has awarded more than $2.8 million in grant funding to 64 recycling companies statewide. It has led to more than $9.9 million in private investment, created more than 215 new, full-time jobs and facilitated an additional 8.5 million tons of diversion from landfill disposal.