The State Planning Office recently announced grants to 16 municipalities to help expand their recycling programs.

The Office’s waste management and recycling program awarded $300,000 to local programs that want to increase corrugated cardboard recycling and yard and leaf waste composting.

According to an assessment by the State Planning Office, capturing more of the disposed corrugated cardboard for recycling could increase the statewide recycling rate by as much as six percentage points.

“It’s easy to collect, we have the basic infrastructure to recycle it, and there are strong markets for it,” said Darryl Brown, director of the State Planning Office, in a press release. “Composting lawn wastes also requires minimal effort and gives the town a valuable compost product in the end.”

The grants range from $2,200 to $25,000 for site work for compost pads, bins for local businesses to collect corrugated cardboard, balers and recycling buildings. A minimum local match of 15 percent is required.

Old Town, for example is adding storage room to their existing recycling center for new volumes of corrugated cardboard. Skowhegan is constructing a paved compost pad. Lubec is purchasing bins for businesses to recycle cardboard.

The grants are also making recycling easier for citizens, according to the press release. The towns of Nobleboro and Jefferson, who share a recycling center, will construct a satellite facility centrally located in Jefferson that will make recycling more convenient.

“Making it easier for residents is an effective way to increase the quantity of corrugated cardboard being recycling,” the town said in their application.

From Waldo County, the Unity Area Regional Recycling Center received a grant for $14,173 with a local match of $3,335, bringing the total for the project to $17,508.

The money will be used by UARRC for the purchase of utility trailers and trailer locks for collecting and storing corrugated cardboard at business locations.

Mainers recycled 38.7 percent of their household wastes in 2009. Funds for recycling grants come from fees on the disposal of certain wastes in Maine landfills, such as incinerator ash and sewer sludge.

For more information on the state’s recycling program, go to: maine.gov/spo/recycle.