SALEM — State officials cut $2.6 million in checks to towns and cities across Massachusetts yesterday, and they paper-clipped a pretty straight-forward message for communities to share: you're good at recycling, but we want you to be great.

With the grants, the Baker-Polito Administration and state's Department of Environmental Protection also launched Recycle Smart, a new program to help residents sort out what items can be recycled, what should be reused and when it's OK to pitching something in the trash.

The grants and program was announced at a gathering at City Hall Annex Wednesday afternoon. It was attended by local officials, members of the city's recycling committee and leaders from across the state, all of whom spoke within reach of a poster of Massachusetts communities color-coded based on their recycling programs.

Two hundred and forty-seven of them were colored green. That included most of the North Shore.

"Today, a $2.6 million grant for the 247 communities is real money, and it's recognizing the achievements of each of these communities," said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. "I'd love 351 even better, so we want to get there — and we will."

Salem tops the list locally in dollars received, with a $42,000 grant to cover the city's recycling coordinator position, according to city Mayor Kim Driscoll. The position focuses on education and compliance with recycling rules.

"It helps us not only work more effectively in terms of recycling in our community, but support the efforts of a number of volunteers," Driscoll said. "We can't make it work without these resources."

Haverhill, Lowell, Worcester, Springfield and New Bedford all received grants ranging from $42,000 to $84,500. But this wasn't a case of the state's largest cities getting the biggest checks: Boston, for example, received only a $2,000 "small-scale payment,"one of 53 recipients of payouts ranging between $500 and $2,000. Danvers and Swampscott made that list.

The smaller grants target communities with activities that could use a little more support, the lieutenant governor said.

"These are things that have to get done, and we're helping you do that," Polito said. "We're partnering with you so you don't have to foot the entire bill."

At the same time, leaders flipped the very green switch on Recycle Smart, a state program aimed at educating residents to recycling best practices. A website for the program is live and can be viewed at

"This is an issue that we're continuing to work on," said Martin Suuberg, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. "It's an issue that's very important for all cities and towns, the idea of promoting recycling, putting as little in the trash can as possible and making sure we're wisely reusing materials."

Contact Salem reporter Dustin Luca at 978-338-2523 or Follow him on Facebook at or on Twitter @DustinLucaSN.


Salem: $42,000

Beverly: $31,500

Peabody: $24,500

Marblehead: $14,300

Ipswich: $13,200

Boxford: $7,800

Hamilton: $7,200

Topsfield: $6,600

Wenham: $3,850

Danvers: $1,500

Swampscott: $1,000

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