Ready for the next great recycling leap forward? Competitive grant funding opportunities for recycling initiatives, as well as initiatives that involve environmental stewardship and critical environmental needs, are available from a number of sources.

California has an active grant and low-interest loan program through CalRecycle, the Department of Resource Recycling and Recovery. Of particular interest is support for Recycling Market Development initiatives. These low-interest loan programs are designed to encourage the development of markets for recycled raw materials and products, and the development of industrial practices and procedures that reduce resource use and manufacturing waste. Most states have similar funding opportunities through state departments of environmental protection and public health.

The federal government also supports funding opportunities for individuals, companies, nonprofits, and municipalities. Funding can be through competitive grants or low-interest loan programs. The range of programs include brownfield land remediation and development through recycling and reuse initiatives, air and water pollution technologies, and the development of large-scale waste technologies.

Nonprofit agencies and consortiums have provided a number of excellent competitive grant funding opportunities for environmental stewardship and habitat restoration projects. The Five Star program, through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, provides grant funding for projects involved in coastal, wetlands, and riparian environment restoration. Many other national and international nonprofit organizations provide similar competitive grant opportunities.

For-profit companies are also offering recycling initiatives as grant-funded projects; Coca-Cola has developed a recycling grant for communities initiative in which communities can ask for, and be awarded community recycling bins. 

First steps? Research the local and state grant initiatives, as these program opportunities will be tailored to the needs 0f the local community more than federal or national nonprofits. Many local community colleges have classes in grant writing; since many grant funding opportunities are competitive, the care with which the proposal is written will impact how it is received.