DEQ began offering grants to local governments in 1992. Between 1992 and 2000 grants primarily funded local solid waste plans, local recycling and composting projects, and tire cleanups. Only local governments could apply. In 2000, changes to administrative rules made it possible for DEQ to award grants to local governments which would then “pass through” funds to community non-profits. DEQ also began awarding extra “focus points” during scoring to projects that reduce waste generation (prevention, reuse) in order to increase investments in these historically under-funded or under-explored areas. The results was a significant increase in the diversity and variety of grant-funded projects, with a lot of grants going to support edible food rescue (salvage) and building material (and other reuse). A separate grant program supported local HHW plans and facilities. Grants were largely suspended in 2008 due to revenue shortfalls. Legislation in 2015 both restored funding for grants and also greatly expanded both what types of projects could be funded as well as who could apply. Since then, DEQ has slowly and strategically begun to both expand and further focus the scope of the grants program. In 2016 DEQ allowed non-profits to apply directly, thereby avoiding the administrative burden on local governments of pass-through funding. In 2017, to support the agency’s new strategic plan for preventing the wasting of food, DEQ awarded “focus points” to such projects, and also opened applications (for those types of projects only) to schools and universities.
How was the Project Started?
Grants were first offered in 1992 in response to Legislative direction.
When was the Project Started?
1992, with significant changes in 2000-2001 and then 2015 – 2017.
When was the Project Completed, or is it Ongoing?
Ongoing and continuing to evolve.
What are the Results to Date?
DEQ has awarded funds to hundreds of projects across the state, supporting a wide variety of prevention, reuse, recycling and composting projects. Recent focusing/tailoring of grants has also been successful. For example, prior to 2017 we had received a total of one application specific to preventing the wasting of food. By making this a priority in the 2017 round, we received 7 applications in that work area (and funded 6). Separately, in 2017 we awarded our first-ever grants directly to businesses through a reuse/repair workforce development micro-grant program (see reuse/repair description for additional details).
What are the Resources Needed, including Time, Cost, Etc.?
I would estimate about 0.3 FTE spread across multiple staff to design and implement the grant solicitation (including review and scoring) each year, plus additional staff time to administer grant agreements. Annual awards vary depending on funds available, and in recent years have ranged from $550,000 – $1.2 million.
- David Allaway
- Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality
- Sr. Policy and Program Analyst