Consumer Recycling Education and Outreach Grant Program
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law focuses on improving the effectiveness of residential and community recycling and composting programs through public education and outreach.
On this page:
- Eligible Applicants
- Eligible Activities
- Available Funding
- Award Process and Timeline
- How to Apply
- Updates and Questions
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $75 million total from Fiscal Year 2022 to Fiscal Year 2026 for grants to fund a new Recycling Education and Outreach Grant Program. Projects funded through the grant program will:
- Inform the public about residential or community recycling or composting programs.
- Provide information about the materials that are accepted as part of residential or community recycling or composting programs.
- Increase collection rates and decrease contamination across the nation.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also requires EPA to develop a model recycling program toolkit. This toolkit can be used by grant applicants to help design or improve recycling, composting, and other material management programs.
The entities eligible to apply for this grant are:
- U.S. States, including Washington, D.C.
- Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
- Local governments.
- Federally recognized tribal governments.
- Native Hawaiian organizations, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
- Nonprofit organizations.
- Public-private partnerships.
Materials within the scope of this grant program include commonly recycled materials, such as aluminum and steel containers, glass, cardboard paper, and plastics, as well as food, organics (yard and tree trimmings, wood, etc.), textiles, batteries, and electronics. Also within the scope of this grant program are education and outreach activities that prevent or reduce waste by reducing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, remanufacturing, recycling, composting, or using anaerobic digestor systems to treat these types of materials or to reduce related contamination.
All projects must encourage the collection of recyclable materials and must achieve one or more of the following objectives:
- Inform the public about residential or community recycling programs.
- Provide information about the recycled materials that are accepted as part of a residential or community recycling program that provides for the separate collection of residential solid waste from recycled material.
- Increase collection rates and decrease contamination in residential and community recycling programs.
Applications may include (but are not limited to) projects that fund:
- Public service announcements.
- Door-to-door education and outreach campaigns.
- Social media and digital outreach.
- An advertising campaign on recycling awareness.
- The development and dissemination of:
(i) a toolkit for a municipal and commercial recycling program.
(ii) information on the importance of quality in the recycling stream.
(iii) information on the benefits of recycling.
(iv) information on what happens to materials after the materials are placed in the bin.
- Businesses recycling outreach.
- Bin, cart, and other receptacle labeling and signs.
- Community ambassador education programs or training the trainer programs.
- Other education and outreach activities to improve waste prevention, reuse, and recycling, and reduce contamination, such as evaluations and evidence-based messaging and strategies associated with preventing or reducing waste and improving reuse, repair, refurbish, and remanufacture of materials.
The total estimated funding for this competitive opportunity is approximately $30,000,000. EPA anticipates awarding approximately 25 assistance agreements under this funding opportunity, with at least one award per EPA Region. The minimum individual award floor is $250,000, and the maximum individual award ceiling is $2,000,000 for the grant period. This program is in alignment with the Biden Administration’s Justice40 Initiative.
How to Determine Eligibility for Program Track
As described in the Consumer Recycling Education and Outreach Request for Applications, projects will be funded under two tracks:
- Track 1: Projects that benefit disadvantaged communities as defined in the RFA. EPA anticipates approximately 40% (or $12,000,000) of the funding will be awarded to projects that benefit disadvantaged communities.
- Track 2: Projects that benefit all other communities that do not meet the definition of disadvantaged communities.
In addition, 20% (or $6,000,000), will be awarded to low income, rural, and Native American communities, in compliance with section 70402(d)(2) of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Awards for this statutory set-aside may be made from either Track 1 or Track 2 applicants.
To help applicants determine which track to apply under and if they qualify for the statutory set-aside, the EPA has provided information and resources below. Applicants should use screenshots and any other available information to assist EPA staff in determining their eligibility. Applicants who have difficulty using the tools should contact RecyclingEd@epa.gov for assistance.
Determining Eligibility for Track 1
Under this announcement, projects serving disadvantaged communities may apply to Track 1. A disadvantaged community is defined as a community that meets at least one of the following criteria:
- is located in a U.S. Territory (Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands);
- meets one or more of the eight disadvantaged categories identified in the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) developed by the Council on Environmental Quality.
- is a Census-defined rural community that is at or above the 65th percentile for low income AND 80% or more of individuals 15 or older are not enrolled in higher education; or
- is located in Indian country, is a former Indian reservation in Oklahoma (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior), or is an Alaskan Native Villages as defined in Public Law 92–203.
To check your eligibility under Criteria 2 and 3:
- Under criterion 2, an applicant should use a screenshot of CEJST along with a brief narrative to illustrate that the proposed project will benefit disadvantaged communities.
- Under criterion 3, an applicant should use screenshots of the map located below along with a brief narrative to illustrate that their proposed project will benefit disadvantaged communities. Areas that are eligible are highlighted in blue. Applicants may use their street address, city, or ZIP code to search, and should take a screenshot to demonstrate that they are located in or their project will benefit a rural area.
Determining Eligibility for Statutory Set-Aside
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also requires that 20% of the funding be awarded to:
- low-income communities;
- rural communities; and
- communities identified as Native American pursuant to section 2(9) of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (25 U.S.C. 3001(9)).
These communities may apply under Track 1 or Track 2. To help applicants determine if they are eligible for this set-aside, the EPA has provided definitions and resources below.
For the purposes of this grant program, a low-income community is defined as a community in which the median household income is at or below 200% of the Federal poverty level. Applicants can use screenshots of the map below along with brief narrative to illustrate that their proposed project will benefit a low-income community.
For the purposes of this grant program, rural communities are defined as one of the following:
a) Local areas with populations of 50,000 or less that have limited access to public or private resources commonly found in metropolitan areas; or
b) Community Network areas selected by the Rural Partners Network (Refer to rural.gov for a complete list of communities).
Applicants claiming rural status must provide sufficient detail (e.g., Census data, population figures, descriptions of local resources, etc.) for EPA to validate the rural status of the community. One approach to demonstrating that limited access to public or private resources may be to use CEJST developed by the Council on Environmental Quality.
Native American Community:
For the purposes of this grant program, communities identified as Native American pursuant to section 2(9) of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act will mean communities relating to, a tribe, people, or culture that is indigenous to the United States. Applicants that want EPA to determine that they serve a community identified as Native American must describe in their application how they meet this definition.
Applicants must submit applications through grants.gov. Applications should read Request for Applications (RFA) (pdf) (718.58 KB) for the full solicitation. The RFA includes a full description of the funding opportunity, award information, eligibility information, application and submission information, application review information, and award administration information.
- Prepare for a Grant.
- Model Recycling Program Toolkit.
- Grant Request for Applications (pdf).
- The Funding Opportunity in Grants.gov.
- Standardized Recycling Terms.
- Presentation slides used during the first set of webinars (pdf).
- Presentation slides used during the second set of webinars (pdf).
- Questions and Answers document(pdf).
- A Quick Reference Guide for Evaluating Progress and Reporting Achievements Over Time (pdf).
EPA held webinars about this funding opportunity. Below you can find details for the first three webinars:
|Date||Time (Eastern)||Presentation Slides||Webinar Recordings|
|November 30, 2022||2:00 - 3:30 pm||EPA Presentation Slides (pdf).|
|December 6, 2022||6:00 - 7:00 pm||Refer to the link above.||Refer to the links above.|
|December 8, 2022 (for tribes)||1:00 - 2:00 pm||Refer to the link above.||Refer to the links above.|
In this first set of webinars, EPA provided an overview of the request for applications, eligible entities, evaluation criteria, the application process, and the model recycling program toolkit. We covered the same material in all of these webinars. We also answered questions.
Below you can find details about the second set of webinars:
|Date||Time (Eastern)||Presentation Slides||Webinar Recordings|
|December 14, 2022 (for tribes)||2:00 - 3:00 pm||EPA presentation slides in English (pdf).||Refer to the links below.|
|December 15, 2022||2:00 - 3:30 pm||Refer to the link above.|
|December 20, 2022||6:00 - 7:00 pm||Refer to the link above.||Refer to the links above.|
Updates and Questions
Question and Answer Documents
EPA developed formal responses to questions and comments (pdf) received regarding the SWIFR Grants for Political Subdivisions (EPA-I-OLEM-ORCR-23-03) and the Recycling Education and Outreach Grants (EPA-I-OLEM-ORCR-23-02).
Sign up for updates about our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs!
Need More Help?
If you have questions about the grants, email RecyclingEd@epa.gov.
Submit Your Application
Due date extension! EPA is excited to announce that it will be accepting applications for the Recycling Education and Outreach Grant Program until February 15, 2023. Learn more about how to apply.
Related Funding Opportunities
Creating Messages that Drive Behavior Change
Education alone rarely changes behavior. If your community is trying to create impactful educational materials that lead to behavior change, consider applying social marketing approaches. Find EPA’s recently released recorded webinars and training materials to help you design impactful messages. The trainings include examples of social marketing principles applied to recycling and food waste campaigns.