Alam Jahanger sorts recycling at Ecomaine on April 10, 2020. The Portland nonprofit has received a $2 million federal grant to promote recycling among residents of multifamily homes, like apartment buildings. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer, file

Ecomaine, a Portland recycling and waste-to-energy facility that serves 74 communities, has received a $2 million federal grant to promote recycling among apartment dwellers and residents of other multifamily homes in Maine.

Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the grant from the Environmental Protection Agency will support Ecomaine’s “effort to increase Maine’s recycling rate through outreach to residents of multifamily dwelling units.”

“Recycling programs in apartment buildings and multifamily dwellings have always been the most challenging to implement,” said Caleb Hemphill, an Ecomaine board member who heads the facility’s outreach and recycling committee.

As a result, many residents of multifamily homes don’t have access to recycling programs, so the large amounts of recyclable waste they generate often ends up in landfills, Hemphill said.

“Recycling programs in Maine and across the country play an important role in our collective fight against climate change.” said Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, ranking member of the committee that oversees the EPA. “Unfortunately, recycling rates remain low across the U.S.”

Ecomaine will use the grant to develop a pilot educational outreach program for residents and property owners, create informational materials and a social media campaign, and increase access to single-sort recycling strategies.

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