Grant closed. Application deadline was May 29.

Recycling market development grant

Container glass for recyclingMPCA sought applications for grant funding of projects that will build lasting capacity to support recycling markets in Minnesota. The goal is to increase recycling feedstock value, increase end market capacity, divert recyclable materials from disposal, and create jobs in Minnesota.

See the request for proposals (RFP) for full details on eligibility: who may apply, grant match amounts, and other information that will help applicants submit a proposal.

Closed: Application deadline was May 29, 2020

  • Total funds: Approximately $400,000
  • Awards: Maximum $250,000; minimum $50,000
  • Match requirement: 25% (applicants must provide at least 25% match of the grant award)

Application materials

Recycling market development grant

Package icon Recycling market development grant (FY20): Archive (p-f2-48-fy20)

Questions and answers

Applicants who have any questions regarding this RFP must email questions to, subject line: “Recycling Market Development Grant 2020 Question”. Staff will gather questions and post answers on the website on an at-least weekly basis. All questions and answers will be posted by Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

MPCA personnel are not authorized to discuss this RFP with applicants. Contact regarding this RFP with any MPCA personnel may result in disqualification.

Q1: It looks like the focus of the grant is developing more manufacturing capability. Not so much focusing on developing marketing strategies/materials to increase markets for existing materials like compost. Is that an accurate read?
A1: Marketing strategies are not eligible for grant money. Increased capacity to process organic material,  equipment to improve compost quality, or equipment to bag finished compost to sell to the market are some of the projects that would be eligible under this grant. Research and development projects are also eligible. 

Q2: Are reuse-focused commercial projects eligible for this grant if they are creating infrastructure to support multiple reuse businesses?
A2: The goal of the grant is developing market capacity for recyclable materials. While reuse is an important part of the hierarchy, it is not eligible under this grant.

Q3: We've been working with a broad coalition to find a solution for recycling woven poly bags (specifically brewery malt bags, super sacks, railcar liners, etc). It's a coalition of businesses  consultants, manufacturers and end users — and MN Waste Wise. We've been working to identify a solution for single stream collection of this product, logistics and transportation as well as identifying an end user to recycle and or re-weave. Funding would help advance this project as it is complicated and requires several different entities to close all of the gaps. There is great benefit in pursuing this as it is a product that is currently being processed as waste and would be a new stream of diversion. Would be a qualifying project?
A3: Yes, this project would be eligible for the grant, as long as the material would be processed somehow in Minnesota. 

Q4: I am wondering if a loan (e.g., for land) can count toward the required match amount.
A4: Yes, if it is a specific amount directly for this project.

Q5: What constitutes "real property" as an ineligible cost. Would a fabric and concrete building that is mostly open air be ineligible?
A5: The grant money cannot be used to buy a building to house the project.  The structure mentioned would not be eligible for state grant money.

Q6: I'm curious if an applicant is allowed to subcontract with an entity outside of Minnesota?
A6: Yes, as long as the outcome of the project is based in Minnesota. For example, you may hire a consulting firm in Wisconsin to conduct engineering testing on your product. But the final product must be manufactured in Minnesota. 

Q7: Can we ask for grant money for costs that we don't have specific numbers for? Would we have to put these in the budget as a range, as a low end estimate, a high end estimate, or something else? If what we budgeted for is above the actual cost, could we return the unused grant money? If it is below, would we be allowed to finance the rest ourselves?
A7: Since we do not require specific quotes and/or bids, it is best to put down your best estimate of what something will cost. You will be reimbursed for 75% of actual costs incurred, up to the amount of funding awarded for your project. Any unused grant funding must be returned. Awardees can also contribute more than the 25% minimum match.

Q8: Are State Agencies considered eligible applicants?
A8: No. See section 3 of the RFP under “Eligible applicants”.

Q9: We are working to finalize the budget, but will not have exact costs at the time of application because some budget items need to go out to bid. How complete and comprehensive does the budget need to be upon application and is there flexibility if costs differ during the implementation of the project?
A9: Since we do not require specific quotes and/or bids, it is best to put down your best estimate of what something will cost. You will be reimbursed for 75% of actual costs incurred, up to the amount of funding awarded for your project. Any unused grant funding must be returned. Awardees can also contribute more than the 25% minimum match. However, additional state money cannot be added to the grant once awarded.

Q10: Would a project that proposes onsite processing of source separated organics into compost from one or two locations considered an eligible project?
A10: Yes.

Q11: Would expanding an organics collection operation count as an eligible project? The waste is brought to a compost facility, but the facility would not be in the scope of the project.
A11: No. The grant is designed for projects which develop processing and new products to expand market capacity. Collection can be part of it, but it has to be tied to new processing or new facility development.    

Q12: We would need to build a structure with a concrete pad, aeration pipes built into the concrete, concrete lock block walls, and fabric hoop roof for the type of composting we would like to do. We would not be purchasing an existing building, we would like to build the structure with funds from the grant. Is this allowed?
A12: No. Real Property, whether purchased or built, is not an eligible expense.  

Q13: To have a loan count as part of the match, would we have to have secured the loan by the time we apply for the grant?
A13: No, but match will need to be in place before any payment is made. 

Q14: Is there a pre-determined/mandated end-date of the grant period?
A14: The end date will be determined by the MPCA during the drafting period of the grant agreements. However, agreements are typically approximately 2 years in length depending on the timing of the funding source.

Q15: In looking at the documents I did not see a timeline for expected award notifications and when funds would be available. Also, is there an expected timeline for projects in terms of start dates and expected completion (length 1 year, 2 year?). 
A15: All applicants will receive notice of their application status approximately 4-6 weeks after the deadline. See above (Q14) regarding the end date.

Q16: Can you please clarify why State Agencies are not eligible for the Recycling Market Development Grant (Answer to Question #8)? State Agencies do not appear on either list for eligible or ineligible applicants and State Agencies are closer aligned to work conducted by organizations on the eligible list (e.g., local government units) than those on the ineligible lists (e.g., businesses located outside of Minnesota).
A16: The MPCA made the decision during the drafting process that the eligible entities listed would best put forward the purpose of the grant funding (see project overview on page 1 of the RFP). Future RFPs will more clearly identify ineligible entities.