PBCI receives grant from EPA for solid waste infrastructure for recycling

Published 10:28 am Friday, March 22, 2024

Special to the Advance

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians announced they were recently awarded the Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling (SWIFR) Grant for Tribes in the amount of $787,397 from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The grant awarding is part of a grant program funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The SWIFR Grant Program is a covered program under the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water and other investments to disadvantaged communities.

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According to a release, PBCI has been working with the city of Brewton for several years to grow a healthy relationship for both environmental education and active recycling efforts.

“This valuable investment will give us the opportunity to continue to improve waste material management in our communities, and greatly enhance our recycling abilities,” said Yank Lovelace, mayor of Brewton.

“Through this grant, we will be able to conduct a recycling feasibility and sustainability study to make improvements needed, provide education and outreach, as well as increase community recycling by providing more community recycling containers,” said Kristi Weatherford, Poarch Band of Creek Indians director of environmental programs. “We are excited to continue our work with local partners like the city of Brewton, in growing a healthy relationship for both environmental education and active recycling efforts.”

The partnership between PBCI and the city of Brewton has been key for growing environmental efforts in the rural portion of the state and has been identified as a successful model for other small towns to follow, according to a release.

While other cities may be abandoning their recycling efforts, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians are looking to expand both availability to the public, and a growing list of recyclables.

The success of this partnership has resulted in the city of Brewton being eligible for grant funding through ADEM, while the Poarch Band of Creek Indians were able to accomplish the same efforts through federal funding. This partnership was recognized at a statewide meeting to showcase the values of cooperative recycling efforts within Alabama.

Currently, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Recycling program, located at 4447 Hwy 21 South, Atmore, AL, accepts a variety of materials from the community including, paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, as well as electronics, appliances, light bulbs, household batteries, ink cartridges, and toner.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians hosts an annual Household Hazardous Waste and Electronic Recycling Event annually for the entire community, which is scheduled for April 27, 2024.