Schools who apply for a recycling grant through ecomaine can receive up to $5,000 to help with recycling and composting projects or programs. Courtesy photo ecomaine

SCARBOROUGH — On Sept. 14, ecomaine announced that the organization will be providing up to $25,000 in grants to raise recycling awareness in schools and communities.

A Portland-based nonprofit that it is a recycling and waste-to-energy operation, ecomaine said that it serves a third of the state’s population in 70 member communities, including Scarborough.

Any school within ecomaine’s member communities may apply for up to $5,000 of the $25,000 in grant money for the 2020-2021 school year, the announcement said. The deadline to apply is Oct. 30.Those interested can visit www.ecomaine.org/tours-and-educational-outreach/grants/.

Awardees are chosen based on the proposal’s project outline and school commitment, ease of the project’s replication, likelihood of success and program sustainability, and how compelling and worthy it is, said ecomaine. Recipients will be notified in mid-November.

“Proposals should demonstrate a commitment to the solid waste hierarchy and landfill diversion techniques, particularly reduce, reduce, recycle and compost/digestion,” ecomaine said.

In past years, Scarborough High School has taken advantage of this opportunity, Matt Grondin, communications manager for ecomaine, said in an email.

“In 2019-20, Scarborough High School and its ECOS club successfully applied for $1,600 in funding to install electric hand dryers, saving on disposable paper towels in the school’s lobby restrooms,” he said. “According to the school’s mid-term and final reports from students and Facilities Director Todd Jepson, the dryers will not only save on disposable paper towels, keeping them out of the trash stream, but also reduce costs for purchasing the towels.”

Deering High School in Portland received $900 in the 2017-2018 school year to improve its composting program and public awareness, Grondin said. This meant the school only needed half of the cafeteria’s normal number of garbage cans, saving money on Deering’s disposal costs.

“In 2019-20, the Children’s Nursery School in Portland received $303 for composting supplies and pre-K-level books for their curriculum on waste reduction, composting, and gardening,” he said. “The students also made posters on the subject, and even continued learning more online when the pandemic hit and learning in person wasn’t an option.”

Caleb Hemphill, chair of ecomaine’s Outreach & Recycling Committee, said that ecomaine hopes the funding will assist schools’ recycling and composting programs this year.

“This year is obviously proving to be a tough one for all of us — especially schools and students,” he said. “It is ecomaine’s hope that this funding can help maintain some of the important programming around recycling, compost, and waste reduction that we’ve seen in our schools.  We’re looking forward to seeing some creative proposals in 2020-21.”

People who would like information about how to apply can call 773-1738 or email [email protected].

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