DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Program Requirements for Agricultural Plastic Recycling Pilot Program
[52 Pa.B. 3226]
[Saturday, June 4, 2022]
The Department of Agriculture (Department) hereby provides notice of the standards and requirements for the Agricultural Plastic Recycling Pilot Program (Program). This notice establishes the grant solicitation by the Department through moneys secured from the Department of Environmental Protection to solicit applications to develop a sustainable agricultural plastics recycling program. Funding has been secured for year 1 and we fully expect this funding to continue for years 2 through 5 but cannot guarantee. This is a pilot program Statewide with a focus starting in the Counties of Adams, Berks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and Perry.
1. Grant Solicitation. The Agricultural Plastics Recycling Project effort will assist in developing a sustainable means for farmers in this Commonwealth to manage their used agricultural plastic which includes (but is not limited to) silage bags, bunker silo covers, bale wraps and twines, hoop house covers, planting trays and containers, row covers and mulch films.
The development of a collection and recycling (or processing other than disposal) program to become the standard practice for managing waste agricultural plastics in this Commonwealth.
The development of an agricultural plastic recycling system to become sustainable by means of a combination of factors including:
• Local initiative of the agricultural and recycling communities.
• Integration with existing materials management infrastructure.
• Seeking out markets for recovered agricultural plastic.
Landfilling plastics is currently an expense and an environmental hazard. Recycling will allow this resource to be reused and eliminate the expense of landfilling.
2. Scoring of Applications. The Department will evaluate each complete and timely-filed project proposal and grant application and will be scored by assessing the following:
a) Address the need and desire of the grower communities and others to recycle agricultural plastic.
b) Identify the scope of services current recyclers are willing and able to provide, capacity and interest in transportation of materials, as well as capacity of agricultural plastic recyclers and markets to collect and manage materials.
c) Identify equipment and advertising to aid in establishment of collection and transportation infrastructure as eligible expenses to be included in the proposal.
d) Identify goals, resources and estimates of the amount of plastic for recycling.
e) Prioritize efforts to develop local infrastructure for recycling, recruit project participants, train participants in best management practices to improve the quality of plastic separated for recycling.
f) Identify equipment required to perform the basic functions of the recycling Program to include the sorting of recycled material to be free of metals, organic matter, tires and other nonrecyclables. This would also include the identification of wash systems, drying equipment, baling equipment and transportation equipment.
g) Identify any potential by-products produced and or potential environmental concerns that are associated from the recycling process and will obtain appropriate Federal, State and local permits as required for such a recycling program.
h) The Program will continue to create and regularly update resources to support farmers, educators, recyclers and others in working with agricultural plastic recycling equipment and materials with the objective of increasing the quantity and improving the quality of plastic collected for recycling.
i) The Program will identify long-term end-use concepts as well as potential markets for the recycled plastic agricultural material to produce socially useful end products, which themselves can be recycled at the end of their useful life, and which are appropriate to make from agricultural plastics feedstock (for example, lumber, sidewalk pavers, roofing tile, and the like).
j) Identify corporations that currently recycle agricultural plastics Nationally and are interested in conducting operations within this Commonwealth.
k) The ability to collect and recycle agricultural plastic beyond the scope of the pilot program. The Program will also solidify markets to enable agricultural operators within this Commonwealth to have viable options to reuse agricultural plastics.
l) Utilization of existing machinery and develop or modify new machinery to drive efficient plastic collections and implement.
m) The applicant will research the use of biodegradable materials that could serve the same function as plastic materials used in agriculture, taking into consideration factors such as the material's availability through the marketplace, cost effectiveness, length of decomposition, functional equivalency, nutrient value, ability to pollute the environment and impact on public health. Incorporate alternate materials on a working farm evaluating effectiveness and costs.
Upon completion of application scoring, the Department will prepare a record identifying each complete and timely-filed project proposal and grant application received and the numerical score assigned to each. The Department will award grants based upon its evaluation and scoring of applications.
3. Grant Agreement. With the e-mailed grant award notice, the Department will provide applicants with a grant agreement for execution and return within 30 days or instructions as to finalizing the grant agreement electronically. The Department will obtain the required Commonwealth signatures on the grant agreements and return a copy of the fully executed grant agreement to the applicant. The grant agreement is not effective, and work should not begin until all required signatures have been applied to the grant agreement. Among the terms of the grant agreement shall be a requirement that the grant recipient provide the Department full and complete access to all records relating to the performance of the project and submit information as the Department may require.
4. Application Delivery and Deadline. Interested applicants must submit a complete electronic project proposal and grant application using the Department of Community and Economic Development's Electronic Single Application web site at https://www.esa.dced.state.pa.us/Login.aspx by Friday, July 8, 2022, at 5 p.m. Questions regarding this online application process may be directed to Jessica Lenker, (717) 772-5212, firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Multiyear Projects or Extensions. The Department may award grant funding for multiyear projects or extensions of an ongoing project if the Department identifies that a multiyear term or an extension advances the grant's objectives. Requests for extensions of ongoing projects shall be made, evaluated and processed in accordance with all the requirements of this notice.
6. Notice of Award. Applicants shall be notified by mail of the decision on their grant applications by the Department. Best efforts will be made to do so within 30 days of the application deadline.
7. Nonmatching Cost-Reimbursable Grant. Grants made hereunder do not require the applicant secure or devote a matching sum to the project. Payment of grant funds will occur on a reimbursement basis, with the possibility upon the written submission of justification and subsequent approval of the Department of an advance payment option.
8. Allowable Indirect Cost Reimbursement. Grants made hereunder are subject to an indirect cost cap of 15% of total direct project costs. For the purpose of this solicitation, indirect costs shall include administrative salaries and benefits, office supplies and equipment, facility-related cost including maintenance and repairs, telephones, memberships/dues, freight/postage cost and any consultant related costs associated with the administration of this grant.
9. Reporting Requirements. The applicant will submit quarterly written status reports for the project describing activities undertaken, challenges encountered, actions undertaken to overcome such challenges and adjustments made to the Program's work plan to address project variables.
The quarterly reporting will include a summary of activity in each county within the Programs pilot area. The summary must include the number of farms recruited to participate in the recycling program (separating and preparing their plastic for recycling), amount of material collected, location of collected material for storage, destination and ultimate use of the plastic.
The applicant will submit a written summary report for the program at the end of the contract term covering all aspects of the project. The summary report for the agricultural plastics will include, but not be limited to, program narrative, activities undertaken, project/program costs, achievements, challenges encountered, market development efforts, future program needs and plans, number of farms serviced, profit/loss, amount of agricultural plastic recovered and recommendations for future action for sustaining an agricultural plastic business.
RUSSELL C. REDDING,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 22-819. Filed for public inspection June 3, 2022, 9:00 a.m.]
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