SKOWHEGAN — The town’s parks and recreation director was given the go-ahead by selectmen Tuesday night to proceed with an application for a $300,000 public park recycling grant.

The grant is part of a one-year collaboration between the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, which is donating funding nationwide, and the nonprofit Keep America Beautiful, based in Washington, D.C.

The idea, said Keep America Beautiful project manager Melissa Adams, is to give people visiting public parks and ball fields greater access to local recycling systems.

Funding will pay for public space recycling bins, along with the local pickup and delivery of items placed in the bins, Adams said.

Recycling bins bring the convenience and value of recycling to an “on-the-go” society. Providing recycling access in shared community spaces promotes and reinforces recycling behavior at the individual level, according to the Keep America Beautiful website.

“The application is Web-based, online, and the deadline is April 26,” Adams said by phone Tuesday. “You can apply if you are an organization that works with public parks or that deals directly with park settings from neighborhood parks with playgrounds or athletic fields to regional parks with trails and natural settings.”

Adams said the grant is competitive and no matching local money is involved. The funding is administered through the Maine Resource Recovery Association of Bangor.

Randall Gray, Skowhegan’s code enforcement officer and solid waste supervisor at the recycling facility, said the program will not interfere with the town’s successful recycling program.

Gray said the town makes up to $200,000 a year on recycling, which offsets total operating cost. The town sells recycled cardboard, newsprint, plastic and office paper.

“This will not take away from our program,” he said. “I think this is about keeping America beautiful — containers in the parks where they can put their bottles instead of throwing them in the woods someplace.”

The grant specifically targets beverage container recycling and does not provide bins for trash or other noncontainer recyclables. The program provides bins to local organizations, which will make arrangements to have recyclable cans and bottles collected and recycled.

Grant recipients can purchase similar bins directly from the manufacturer through a limited offer discounted price for other types of recycling.

“Convenience is the Number One barrier to increased recycling,” Adams says on the Keep America Beautiful website. “The goal of this program is to make recycling more convenient by providing bins to give park visitors the opportunity to recycle.”

Adams said public space recycling bins represent both an active and symbolic demonstration of a commitment to cleaner, environmentally friendly gathering places.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
[email protected]


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