1. Recycling Expansion and Modernization (REM) Program


The Illinois Department of Commerce's REM Program helps Illinois businesses and organizations to become "greener."  The REM Program is an opportunity that is good for business, good for the environment, and good for Illinois (more jobs!).  By awarding matching grants to Illinois businesses for Market Expansion, and Waste Management Modernization projects, the REM Program diverts materials from the solid waste stream, thereby conserving our natural resources, boosts the performance of Illinois businesses to sustain and expand the Illinois economy, and demonstrates the public economic benefits of job creation. 


Project Classifications

  • Market Expansion project:  modernizes key functions in a business or organization that manufactures recycled-content products or uses recyclable commodities in providing a service.  The purpose is to increase the use of recyclable commodities as feedstock in manufacturing, thereby expanding markets for these reclaimed materials.
  • Waste Management Modernization project:  improves a company's approach to solid waste management.  Projects involve best practices in solid waste management including (a) source reduction activities that prevent the generation of solid waste, (b) waste reduction activities that recycle or reuse industrial or other solid waste materials, and/or c) improvements in product packaging. 

Project Examples 

  • Market Expansion:  The REM Program provided a matching grant to a manufacturer of recycled content plastic products.  The purpose of the project was to modernize and expand the manufacturing capacity of the facility.  Grant funds were used to offset the expense of the purchase of new equipment required to increase production volume.  As a result of the project, the company increased its use of plastic recyclable material as feedstock, increased sales, and created new full time jobs.
  • Waste Management Modernization:  The REM Program provided a matching grant to an Illinois company to modernize the company's solid waste management methods.  The project focused on a problematic waste stream that previously had been discarded and landfilled.  Grant funds were used to offset the expense of new equipment required to process the material into a value-added form that was then marketed and sold to external markets, for use as feedstock in a manufacturing firm.  As a result of the project, the company recycled the previously-discarded material, reduced its waste management costs, added revenue from sales of the reclaimed material, and diverted the material from the landfill. 

Levels of Service  

  • Implementation Service:  provides funding assistance for capital equipment required for the implementation of new procedures or systems.  Equipment must be advanced to the commercialization stage, and is available “off-the-shelf.”  The proposed procedures or systems must facilitate the attainment of REM Program goals.
  • Demonstration Service:  provides funding for the demonstration of an innovative new technology, practice or product that supports REM Program goals.  Projects may involve a technology, practice or product that has not been demonstrated in Illinois or in particular regions of the state.  Projects will not involve widely commercialized technologies or practices that are considered standard industry practice.
  • Assessment Service:  provides funding for an organization to obtain valuable information that will be used to implement changes that support REM Program goals.  Grant funds are used for contractual technical services and consultant fees.  An assessment service reviews the feasibility and benefits of various improvement options, while analyzing and diagnosing problems, identifying opportunities, and recommending priority actions for improvement. 

Eligibility Criteria 

  • Eligible applicants:  for-profit businesses, governmental entities, colleges and universities, and not-for-profit organizations.
  • Eligible project types:  Market Expansion or Waste Management Modernization
  • Applicant investment (match) requirement:  40% of total project cost, in cash.
  • Eligible materials:  municipal solid waste such as plastics, fiber (paper and cardboard), glass, wood, construction and demolition waste, and others (note:  materials classified as hazardous or special are not eligible).
  • Eligible project expenses:  determined by the specific REM level of service, but may include capital equipment and/or consultant services. 
  • Ineligible project expenses:  routine operating expenses; purchase, rental or remodeling of real property (land or buildings); rolling stock, and other items.  

Funding Parameters 


A maximum funding level is established for each Level of Service.  The Department of Commerce reserves the right to determine the actual grant amount based upon the level of funding available, the Department’s priorities, and the merits of a specific application with regard to REM Program goals.   


Project Evaluation Criteria 


Each eligible application is independently evaluated based on criteria that include:  

  • Applicant/company capacity for REM project management
  • Feasibility of the proposed project
  • Potential impact on materials diversion (tonnage)
  • Potential impact on improved performance or competitiveness of applicant and/or Illinois recycling industry (increased sales or reduced operating costs)
  • Potential public economic benefit (job creation and retention) 


Mike Motor, REM Program Manager 

2. Illinois Recycling Grants Program (IRGP) 


NOTE:  This program is currently closed.  When funding becomes available, announcements will appear in the Program Announcements Section of the Energy and Recycling Homepage.

Through a competitive process, the Illinois Recycling Grants Program provides matching grants to assist local governments, for-profit, and not-for-profit businesses and organizations with establishing or expanding recycling efforts. A priority goal of the program is to reduce the amount of recyclable commodities entering the municipal solid waste stream while maximizing the economic benefits of recycling, including job creation.

  • Eligible materials are restricted to paper fiber, plastic, metal and glass (multiple materials required)
  • Eligible applicants include local governments, for-profit, and not-for-profit businesses or organizations and colleges and universities (K-12 schools are not eligible for funding) 
  • Grant funds for the purchase of capital equipment such as recycling carts/containers, collection vehicles, balers, processing machinery, etc. and project necessary expansion and modernization costs 
  • Project examples: curbside recycling, drop-off recycling, colleges, park districts, office buildings, sports facilities, etc. 
  • Projects involving special waste, hazardous waste, and industrial process waste, as those terms are defined in the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, as well as landscape waste, wood waste, textiles, electronic waste, used/waste tires, and construction and demolition debris waste, are not eligible for funding under this program.
To learn more about the program, or if you would like to be notified on the program's next funding opportunity, please contact:
David Ross

3. Food Scrap Composting Revitalization & Advancement (F-SCRAP) Program


NOTE:  This program is currently closed.  When funding becomes available, announcements will appear in the Program Announcements Section of the Energy and Recycling Homepage.

The Department of Commerce commissioned report, Illinois Commodity/Waste Generation and Characterization Study (May 2009) revealed that food scraps are the single largest material category of municipal solid waste (MSW) landfilled in Illinois. In fact, food scraps, generated from such diverse sources as households, grocery stores, farmer’s markets, restaurants, college dining facilities, and food packaging operations account for 12% of all MSW landfilled in Illinois. Further, composting has been shown to create up to 4 times as many jobs as landfilling the same amount of material and could help businesses and institutions reduce their waste disposal costs. These facts, coupled with Governor Quinn’s signage of Public Act 96-418 that relaxes how food scrap composting facilities are regulated are the genesis for this program.

This program is designed to support projects that will divert food scraps and other organic material, excluding yard waste, from Illinois landfills for composting or as a source for digestion and increase the quantity of materials composted or digested in Illinois. The Department anticipates that these projects will provide new jobs and other economic and environmental benefits to the State of Illinois as well as advance Illinois’ composting and digestion infrastructure. The Department encourages the submission of joint projects or applications that address regional or multi-jurisdictional composting approaches from any combination of two or more governmental, for-profit, or not-for-profit organizations (K-12 schools are not eligible for funding).

To learn more about the program, or if you would like to be notified on the program's next funding opportunity, please contact:

David E. Smith
Phone: 217-785-2006