The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity shall be the lead agency for implementation of this Act and shall have the following powers:
     (a) To provide technical and educational assistance for applications of technologies and practices which will minimize the land disposal of non-hazardous solid waste; economic feasibility of implementation of solid waste management alternatives; analysis of markets for recyclable materials and energy products; application of the Geographic Information System to provide analysis of natural resource, land use, and environmental impacts; evaluation of financing and ownership options; and evaluation of plans prepared by units of local government pursuant to Section 22.15 of the Environmental Protection Act.
     (b) (Blank).
     (c) To provide loans or recycling and composting grants to businesses and not-for-profit and governmental organizations for the purposes of increasing the quantity of materials recycled or composted in Illinois; developing and implementing innovative recycling methods and technologies; developing and expanding markets for recyclable materials; and increasing the self-sufficiency of the recycling industry in Illinois. The Department shall work with and coordinate its activities with existing for-profit and not-for-profit collection and recycling systems to encourage orderly growth in the supply of and markets for recycled materials and to assist existing collection and recycling efforts.
     The Department shall develop a public education program concerning the importance of both composting and recycling in order to preserve landfill space in Illinois.
     (d) To establish guidelines and funding criteria for the solicitation of projects under this Act, and to receive and evaluate applications for loans or grants for solid waste management projects based upon such guidelines and criteria. Funds may be loaned with or without interest.
     (e) To support and coordinate solid waste research in Illinois, and to approve the annual solid waste research agenda prepared by the University of Illinois.
     (f) To provide loans or grants for research, development and demonstration of innovative technologies and practices, including but not limited to pilot programs for collection and disposal of household wastes.
     (g) To promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary to carry out the purposes of subsections (c), (d) and (f) of this Section.
     (h) To cooperate with the Environmental Protection Agency for the purposes specified herein.
     The Department is authorized to accept any and all grants, repayments of interest and principal on loans, matching funds, reimbursements, appropriations, income derived from investments, or other things of value from the federal or state governments or from any institution, person, partnership, joint venture, corporation, public or private.
     The Department is authorized to use moneys available for that purpose, subject to appropriation, expressly for the purpose of implementing a loan program according to procedures established pursuant to this Act. Those moneys shall be used by the Department for the purpose of financing additional projects and for the Department’s administrative expenses related thereto.