NASHVILLE -- Lewisburg has been awarded one of 19 recycling equipment grants being issued to help reduce the stream of waste to landfills across Tennessee.
Together, the grants total more than $417,000, according to an announcement issued Monday by Gov. Phil Bredesen and Jim Fyke, the state commissioner of environment and conservation.
"I'm pleased we have a mechanism to help support waste reduction efforts for our counties," Bredesen said. "This program plays an important role in our state's strategy to encourage recycling and to reduce the amount of solid waste that goes into landfills in Tennessee."
Lewisburg has been approved to receive $25,000 to help with the purchase of carts and an electronic reading device to maintain records on recycling.
"They use it so they can know when the cart was used last," Lewisburg Mayor Bob Phillips said of the electronic reader. "It's part of the accounting.
"I'm delighted that our town has received this grant," Phillips said. "It helps us in our recycling effort. Regardless of how you feel about the landfill, recycling is the real answer."
Seventeen years ago, state lawmakers decided counties needed solid waste plans and they should work toward reducing the flow of garbage to landfills. That led to the creation of the Maury-Marshall Solid Waste Authority. It developed a disposal plan that makes Cedar Ridge Landfill its key component.
Lewisburg started its curbside recycling program in the southwest quadrant of the city last spring. At least two other phases are planned as the recycling program is to be extended to all households in Lewisburg.
"I think it will take us more than six months to get the rest of our town in a recycling program," the mayor said. "We chose the first segment of town because it's where we thought we'd have more responses."
Meanwhile, Marshall County leaders have a recycling program operated at convenience centers ad a site in Lewisburg. The separate drop-off site is behind Walgreen's pharmacy at Ellington Parkway and Nashville highway.
"I'm pleased the state is able to provide this assistance to benefit Tennessee communities and citizens," state Rep. Eddie Bass said of the grant award announced by Bredesen.
State Sen. Bill Ketron agreed.
"Providing assistance to local communities to assist them with recycling helps to keep more materials from going into our landfills," Ketron said.
Recycling equipment grants may be used to purchase equipment for new recycling programs, improve and expand the operation of an existing site or prepare recyclable materials for transport and marketing. Grants may be awarded to counties, cities, non-profit recycling organizations and solid waste authorities across Tennessee to help reach or exceed the goals set forth in the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991. Each recipient is required to match the state grant on a sliding scale basis. Local matching funds toward these 19 projects total nearly $167,500.
The grant program was authorized by the 1991 law and is supported by the Tennessee Solid Waste Management Fund, which is administered by TDEC. The fund receives its revenues from a state surcharge on each ton of solid waste disposed in landfills and from a fee on new tires sold in the state.