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  • 4RS Grants Program students with garden box

4Rs Grants Program

The Office of Sustainability is offering funding assistance to government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions (e.g., schools, school/college districts, state university systems, etc.) through the 4Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot – Compost) Grants Program. The 4Rs Grants Program’s objective is to divert waste from being sent to the landfill by financially supporting eligible entities create and implement projects in San Mateo County that focus on the 4Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot. The program offers two tiers of funding: (1) Mini Grant ($2,000 to $5,000) and (2) Mega Grant (up to $25,000).

Available Grants

Mini Grant: The Mini Grant (for funding requests from $2,000 to $5,000) is available to support and fund small projects that will educate and increase awareness around the 4Rs – including reducing waste, increasing recycling, increasing or implementing composting, and increasing reuse. The Mini Grant is designed to serve a variety of potential applicants who need access to small amounts of funding for a limited time and for a specific purpose.

Mega Grant: The Mega Grant (for funding requests up to $25,000) is available for qualified entities to help initiate or expand innovative programs that promote reuse, waste reduction, recycling, and composting or education about these environmental issues throughout San Mateo County (county-wide focus).

Environmental Club of Half Moon Bay High School

Half Moon Bay High School Environmental Club students promoting recycling in their school

Examples of Grant Projects

  • Classroom workshops, trainings, or activities by nonprofits
  • School garden start-up funding, which includes funding for garden structures such as sheds and garden beds constructed with salvaged lumber
  • Fixit Clinics or other reuse/repair projects
  • Food waste reduction and reuse programs
  • Materials associated with expanding/implementing a campus/facility-wide recycling, reuse or waste reduction program
  • Environmental educational field trips to waste or recycling facilities, museums, etc.
  • Books, materials and equipment, which will be utilized by teachers and students over the years
Community members collecting food scraps to compost using buckets provided by Fresh Approach

Community members collecting food scraps to compost using buckets provided by Fresh Approach

Current Program Year (PY) 2021-2022 Grantees

A total grant amount of $245,236 will be distributed to 8 Mega Grant grantees and 12 Mini Grant grantees between fall 2021 to fall 2022.  The list of the current year’s grantees and their projects can be found hereCongratulations to the newest recipients of the 4Rs Grants Program!

Past Years’ Grantees

4Rs Grant Program zoom meeting

Teacher fellows participating in a four-day Summer Institute, an event hosted by the San Mateo County Office of Education as part of its Zero Waste Fellowship Program

Next Grant Cycle Information (PY 2022-23)

The call for grant applications for the next grant cycle for Program Year 2022-23 is now closed (deadline was March 21, 2022 at 6pm). The new recipients will be announced via email at the end of May 2022.

Other Resources


If you have questions regarding the 4Rs Grants Program, please email sustainability@smcgov.org or call 888-442-2666.