MPCA offers grants to cut air emissions, improve air quality

Contact: Ralph Pribble, 651-757-2657

Whenever we use paints or solvents, the fumes are both familiar and often unpleasant. What you’re smelling are volatile organic compounds, chemicals widely used in our homes and commerce. They have effects on both human health and the environment. Besides the smell, VOCs are significant air pollutants that help form smog and can harm people who breathe them. 

Because they are so widespread, VOCs are getting more attention in efforts to improve air quality. They’re mostly not regulated directly, so environmental agencies like the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) rely on voluntary reduction efforts. One way that’s proven effective is to offer grants for alternative products or processes that put fewer VOCs into the air. 

MPCA grants are now open for VOC-reducing projects in a range of Minnesota-based organizations. Potential projects include switching to water-based or low-VOC solvents, inks, coatings or cleaners, or buying alternative process equipment or vehicles. These projects not only save money but also help protect employee and community health.

More than 20 Minnesota organizations have gotten $660,000 in previous grants to reduce VOCs. These projects reduced about 18 tons of VOCs annually, equal to more than 72,000 cans of spray paint.

Eligible applicants include:

  • Businesses with under 500 employees (e.g., manufacturers, printers, industrial finishers, automotive, metal casting, etc.)
  • Non-profits
  • Trade groups or associations
  • Government agencies
  • Educational institutions.

The maximum grant award is $24,000 with a 50 percent required match. The deadline for grant applications is May 18, 2018, by 4:30 p.m. The most cost-effective projects will score highest. Special consideration will be given for innovative projects from targeted applicants in environmental justice and highly urbanized areas.

To review grant materials and the short application form and see past projects that were funded, visit the Clean air grants to reduce VOCs webpage. For application questions, contact or 651-757-2218.