The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is soliciting applications from Illinois public and nonpublic schools for grants to implement or expand recycling and waste reduction programs and strive to achieve zero waste status. Even though absolute zero waste may not be attainable, the ultimate goal of this program is to assist schools in their efforts to maximize reducing, reusing, recycling and composting waste; and eventually eliminate unnecessary waste.
Successful applicants may use grant funds to purchase necessary items to implement a zero waste project such as collection and storage containers, shredders, reusable plates and silverware, dishwasher, composting containers, etc. Illinois public school districts must submit only one application for the total number of schools participating in the zero waste project. The maximum grant request may not exceed $10,000 per school. For example, a district applying for five schools may submit one application and request up to $50,000.
Two levels of funding are available. To be eligible for Level I funding, each participating school must agree to collect white paper and one additional item generated at the school, implement at least three source reduction activities, instruct all involved parties about the benefits of the project, and commit to conducting a waste audit of remaining waste after the zero waste project is implemented. To calculate the eligible funding amount for Level I funding please use the following formulas:
Up to 350 students = $7 / student
More than 350 Students = $5 / student + $700 / school
To be eligible for Level II funding, the participating school must meet requirements for Level I and agree to collect and recycle at least two additional items, implement two more source reduction activities and/or compost all of the school generated organic waste, and conduct pre and post waste audits. The additional funding will be decided by: types and volume of items being reduced, reused, recycled or composted; percentage of additional waste diverted per student; and additional equipment the applicant will require to implement the proposed project. To qualify for the maximum funding, the applicant must commit to reach attainable zero waste status.
The grant application is available at: http://www.illinoisbiz.biz/dceo/Bureaus/Energy_Recycling/Recycling/ or by writing to Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Energy and Recycling, Illinois Zero Waste Schools Grant Program, 620 East Adams Street, Springfield, Illinois 62701-1615.
Application Deadline: November 1, 2006.
DCEO will schedule workshops to answer questions about the grant application process, as well as collection, market, equipment purchase and education-related topics. Local workshops will be scheduled when at least five applicants express an interest in attending.
For further information or to schedule a workshop in your area please contact Bina Fleck at email@example.com or 217-524-1838, TDD 800-785-6055. All applicants are strongly encouraged to attend a workshop prior to submitting an application.
Inquiries, other than general information inquiries, must be submitted as written questions to be posted online at http://www.illinoisbiz.biz/dceo/Bureaus/Energy_Recycling/Education/ISTEP_program.htm and http://www.illinoisbiz.biz/dceo/Bureaus/Energy_Recycling/Recycling/.
All eligible applications received before 5 p.m., November 1, 2006, will be independently evaluated based on project merit, how well the criteria listed in the RFA is addressed, and how well the grant money will be utilized to divert the maximum amount of waste from landfills or reduce waste generation through implementation of source reduction activities. These criteria have been established to identify the applications demonstrating the most cost effective way to successfully implement the zero waste projects.