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County takes green measures

Schenectady County officials announced Tuesday, Nov. 25, that they have secured $160,000 in state funding from the Department of Environmental Conservation Municipal Waste Reduction and Recycling Program to fund recycling program education and development.

It's a three-year grant program so we actually hope to make this a continuing program, said Jeff Edwards, from the Schenectady County Department of Economic Development.

The grant will be used to hire the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schenectady County to perform waste prevention, composting and recycling-related educational and promotional activities throughout the county from January 2009 through December 2011.

"We have a very long relationship with [Schenectady] County government that goes back 90 years," said Chris Logue, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schenectady County. "We're going to be looking at working to increase our educational efforts around recycling and waste reduction and backyard composting, which is something that we've worked on through our master gardening program for a number of years."

Logue said that this grant is particularly timely given the emphasis on sustainability and local agriculture, as well as the focus on recycling and waste reduction.

In March, the Schenectady County Legislature passed a resolution aimed at making Schenectady County a leader in energy conservation and efficiency standards. The seven-point energy plan included a directive to improve county recycling efforts.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schenectady County will be working with small businesses and schools throughout the county to teach them about various ways to help improve the environment through recycling. The program will focus primarily on Schenectady's youth, working with both public and private schools.

"The youth part is really important to think about because if you look at Cooperative Extension work, and even if you look back to the very beginnings of Extension work, a key part of that has been youth work," said Logue.

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