Congresswoman Summer Lee Announces More Than $371K in Funding to Build and Support Composting Systems at the Backyard and Neighborhood Levels in Braddock, Clairton, and Swissvale

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

November 20, 2023 

CONTACT: Emilia Rowland, Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov

Congresswoman Summer Lee Announces More Than $371K in Funding to Build and Support Composting Systems at the Backyard and Neighborhood Levels in Braddock, Clairton, and Swissvale

(PITTSBURGH, PA) – Today, Congresswoman Summer Lee announced that Delaware Valley Citizens Council for Clean Air will receive a $371,515 grant to build and support composting systems at the backyard and neighborhood levels in Braddock, Clairton, and Swissvale, Pennsylvania. The Council will co-develop educational workshops, literature, and social media with community members, provide supplies and logistical support, and create a network that will develop and manage composting systems tailored to community needs.​

Congresswoman Summer Lee said, “Today marks a significant step forward for the Mon Valley, a community that has too often been overlooked in environmental progress and faces disproportionate pollution. Bringing this grant back home to my community is not just about enhancing recycling and composting systems; it’s a testament to our commitment to uplift communities that have been left behind for far too long. By building and supporting composting systems in Braddock, Clairton, and Swissvale, we are directly addressing the unique needs of these neighborhoods. This initiative is about nurturing a culture of environmental responsibility and community engagement and making sure that the benefits of these programs are accessible and understood by everyone. When we invest in our communities, especially those that have faced neglect, we pave the way for a healthier, more sustainable future. I am proud to see the Mon Valley receive the attention and resources it needs and deserves, and I am committed to ensuring that this is just the beginning of our journey towards environmental justice and sustainability.”

These grants, which are part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, will expand recycling education and outreach for waste management systems across the region.

“These recycling education and outreach grants allow us to meet people where they are – they provide funding to create educational materials and find ways to make recycling easier,” said EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “There’s no one size fits all solution and these grants allow local leaders to custom tailor solutions.”

These recycling grants will help tackle consumer confusion and outdated recycling infrastructure, the largest barriers to proper recycling. Thanks to President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which was signed two years ago today, EPA was provided the largest recycling investment in 30 years that is funding this program.

These grants reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to tackling environmental justice and the climate crisis. Many communities with environmental justice concerns carry a disproportionate environmental and human health burden from waste management. As part of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, 74% of the funding allocated in the REO grants will benefit underserved and overburdened communities. Increasing recycling is also an important way to reduce pollution because natural resource extraction and processing make up half of all global greenhouse gas emissions that drive the climate crisis. Recycling reduces the need to extract resources such as timber, water, and minerals for new products.

The Recycling Education and Outreach grant projects will help inform the public about local recycling and composting programs and focus on increasing collection rates while decreasing contamination of recycling streams across the nation. EPA has announced 4 selectees in the Mid-Atlantic region selectees to receive $4,930,047 in Recycling Education and Outreach grants. They include:

  • Delaware Valley Citizens Council for Clean Air has been selected to receive $371,516. The goal of this proposal is to build and support composting systems at the backyard and neighborhood levels in Braddock, Clairton, and Swissvale, Pennsylvania. The Council will co-develop educational workshops, literature, and social media with community members, provide supplies and logistical support, and create a network that will develop and manage composting systems tailored to community needs.​
  • Hampton Roads Planning District Commission has been selected to receive $1,965,525. Representing seventeen local governments in Virginia, this campaign will take a comprehensive approach to improve recycling across multiple jurisdictions by employing techniques such as community engagement, research, targeted route-level audits, direct mailings, and web-based education materials. 
  • World Wildlife Fund has been selected to receive $1,164,792. This school-based project is located in four cities across Georgia, Maryland, and Tennessee to promote food waste reductions and recycling.
  • Institute for Local Self-Reliance has been selected to receive $1,428,214 for a national composting campaign which aims to catalyze implementation and growth of community composting around the county. 

To learn more about the Recycling Education and Outreach funding, please visit: EPA’s Recipients and Selectees webpage.


Since taking office in January, Lee, who serves on the House Oversight Committee and Space, Science and Technology Committee, has delivered historic levels of federal investment totaling over $870 million brought back to Western PA, including over $200 million for infrastructure, over $50 million for affordable transit, and over $500 million to keep clean energy manufacturing at home in Pennsylvania. These investments will help improve Western Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and transit, ensure cleaner air and drinking water, lower housing costs, fund research institutions, fuel clean manufacturing, fund STEM innovation and entrepreneurship, boost workforce development, and create thousands of good paying union jobs.  Lee and her team have also delivered casework and constituent services to over 1,380 constituents with issues ranging from helping our seniors and disabled community access Medicare and social security to helping folks secure housing and helping families with immigration support and passports.

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