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Has your community applied for a Build with Bags Grant yet?

Now is the time for Iowa parks and schools to apply for a Build with Bags grant from the Iowa Grocery Industry Association. Grocers care about the environment, and they express this care and concern through programs like the Build with Bags grant program.

After four years, the Build with Bags recycling grant program has donated $153,676.71 to more than 100 schools and parks across the state and kept hundreds of thousands of plastic bags out of landfills.

The idea is to use the money from the Build with Bags grants to increase plastic bag recycling efforts throughout Iowa and it’s working, according to Iowa Grocery Industry Association President Michelle Hurd.

“The program takes an innovative approach to encourage individuals to recycle their plastic bags so those bags can be turned into products that beautify our communities,” explains Hurd. “It gives Iowans a firsthand look at what happens to their plastic bags when they are recycled and demonstrates our members’ commitment to the environment. Our members feel strongly that everybody wins when we recycle and play an instrumental role in securing the Build with Bags grants for their communities.”

Grant applicants must obtain an endorsement letter from a local grocer who is supportive of the community’s project and recycling plans.

“While the endorsement letter is not the only factor in the selection process, it is one of the most vital to the Build with Bags program,” Hurd explains. “In the program committee’s eyes, it reflects how the applying community is working with its local grocers to establish long-term projects and goals that help increase the awareness of plastic bag recycling.”

Encouraging purchases of furniture and equipment made from recycled plastic for parks and schools through its grant program is one of four goals established for the Build with Bags program. The other three include increasing the amount of plastic bags recycled, reducing consumption of plastic bags and increasing use of reusable bags.

Participating retailers include all Dahl’s, Fareway and Hy-Vee locations statewide as well as many independent grocers throughout the state.

The program will give thousands of dollars to Iowa schools and parks again in 2014, awarding a minimum of $20,000 in the coming year to purchase park benches, picnic tables, planters and playground equipment made from recycled plastic bags. The IGIA works with Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls to supply the recycled products.

Build with Bags is a cooperative effort of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, Keep Iowa Beautiful, Metro Waste Authority in Des Moines, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, City Carton Recycling and The Des Moines Register.

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2014 calendar year. Details on how to apply, as well as selection criteria, are outlined online at http://www.iowagrocers.com/build-with-bags-grant-application.cfm. The deadline to apply for a Build with Bags grant is March 30, 2014. Awards will be announced on Tuesday, April 22, which is Earth Day. Notification will be made directly to each grant recipient and sponsoring Iowa Grocery Industry Association member.

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