Harrisburg, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has received a report from the Organics Recycling Task Force recommending ways to increase composting and organics recycling in the state.

Recommendations included identifying organic material generators, the types and quantities of organic materials and the organic/recycling facilities in the state; promoting organics recycling in schools; extending the current state recycling fee through 2004 to support organics operations; establishing DEP staffing to coordinate issues related to organics recycling; and connecting issues with stakeholders to develop project teams.

As a follow-up to the report, the DEP will solicit proposals beginning October 1 for a special round of composting and organics recycling project grants. Between $3 million and $5 million will be awarded, according to the DEP.

Meantime, the Pennsylvania State Police, Department of Transportation and Public Utility Commission placed 282 commercial-vehicle drivers and 942 commercial vehicles out of service during Operation Strike Three, a weeklong statewide truck inspection. Enforcement teams found violations in 2,625 of the 2,927 commercial-vehicle inspections conducted. Eight hundred and twenty four driver citations, 1,177 warnings, 2,643 vehicle-defect citations and 6,079 vehicle-defect warnings also were issued.

Two more week-long inspection operations will be conducted before the end of the year, according to Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Paul J. Evanko.