Guidance for Applications

All applications are evaluated and ranked according to the following criteria:

  • Likelihood to recover large quantity of beverage containers   There is a large quantity of recyclable beverage containers and a realistic plan to recover them in locations where bins would be placed.
  • Planning and Organization   Proposal is well thought out; Applicant has done their homework to get recycling program established and ensure it’s long term sustainability.
  • Potential to spur / investment in public space recycling   Examples that demonstrate this: plan to invest matching funds for additoinal recycling bins; Project intended as pilot to inform future expansion; Award will be used to attract separate grant funding, etc.
  • Tracking performance metrics   Presents detailed plan for how weights of recyclable materials will be tracked over time;  Proposed system is likely to accurately measure quantities.


General Guidance

  • Read the entire application before starting to better anticipate which information is relevant for which questions.
  • Consider your project’s strengths to address each of the selection criteria. Are your responses providing the relevant information for reviewers to understand whether the project meets the criteria?
  • Plan to complete the application in a single session. The application includes 30 to 40 questions and can take up to an hour to complete. The online form does not have a save or print function. For this reason, we recommend writing out the answers to open comment questions in advance, and then copying them into the form. To retain a copy of your submitted application, you'll either need to print each page directly from your web browser before going to the next section, or contact the Keep America Beautiful to request a copy be sent.
  • Be specific! It’s easy to list the “right” answer, but details that demonstrate it make an application stronger. Example: Most applications say there is a high quantity of cans and bottles. Go the next step to demnstrate this. Referencing that surveys have found cans and bottles make up 40% of the park’s waste stream and 50,000 lbs of trash was collected last year, gives the reviewer something concrete to evaluate. Another example: Instead of saying your city or organization supports recycling, show evidence of this such as a goal to expand recycling to 50% of parks by 2020, or even citing that the mayor has specifically prioritized this project.
  • Be concise!  The grant program typically receives hundreds of proposals, each of which is evaluated and ranked. Avoid extraneous information that potentially distracts the reviewer from the core information requested by a question.


Questions the Reviewer asks when reading applications:

  • Has the applicant done their homework? Information that demonstrates this: understanding of the waste stream composition and quantities; having studied foot traffic patterns to know where best to place bins; conducted pilot efforts and can cite lessons learned; cite experience with equivalent projects; involved stakeholders up front; cite specific details versus general statements; demonstrate understanding of operational recycling logistics / challenges to address.
  • Is the project likely to be supported long term? Information that demonstrates this: explanation of leadership support; appropriate stakeholders are involved; plans to maintain / refresh bins; plans to monitor and respond to problems such as contamination; project fits into long term plan; applicant plans to match grant with local investment.
  • Are the bins likely to get regular use and collect high quantities of beverage containers? Information that demonstrates this: high usage (# of people w/ daily access, # of events, length of “high” season); specific, measured data (lbs. collected from pilot, composition showing high % of containers, concession sales records, quantity of trash generated, etc.).
  • Are they confident the applicant will follow through with tracking weights? Detailed, specific explanation of how data will be tracked, who will do the work, etc. is important to know this will not be treated as an afterthought. Does the plan sound realistic that the designated persons will follow through?