Know What To Throw: Residents Asked To Adopt Better Recycling Habits

Hide Caption

Ray's Recycling is about all that trash: 'This isn't going to landfill'Ray's Recycling sorts recycled materials for reuse. Take a look at how the recycling is done, saving tons of material from ending up in a landfill.Kelly Wilkinson, kelly.wilkinson@indystar.com

We asked, and you answered! Last week, we posed a question: What are the most difficult items to recycle in Indianapolis? We got more than 20 responses from folks letting us know those pesky products that they just don’t know what to do with or the frustrating features about the city’s recycling program — or what many consider a lack thereof. 

Indy is one of the only major cities in the U.S. that does not currently offer a universal recycling program, which was the subject of an IndyStar investigation just a few years ago. 

So in honor of America Recycles Day today, November 15, we are highlighting some of your comments. We want to let you know that we are listening and try to provide feedback where possible to help make recycling in Indy easier. 

Scrub Hub: How do I become better at recycling?

Keep reading to see what your fellow Hoosiers said and perhaps learn a thing or two about how to handle those tricky items. 

Old TVs and other electronics

Michael C. said: “The cost and the hassle to recycle the old TV’s. We need a better and easier way to recycle the big heavy TV’s. I see them all the time dumped along roadways. Not only an eyesore but not recycled to help the environment.”

Response: TVs are actually very difficult to recycle, according to Circular Indiana, formerly known as the Indiana Recycling Coalition — and the process is very costly, which is why there is a fee. Electronic waste, like old TVs, can contain toxic materials that can be dangerous to human health. Additionally, these items are mixed-materials that need to be separated. Indiana has a ban on throwing electronic waste in the trash, and people can be fined for not recycling them. 

The best way to dispose of these items is to take them to one of the city’s electronic recyclers. For a small fee, folks can drop off their electronics at RecycleForce's Windsor Park facility during regular work hours Monday through Friday or at Technology Recyclers on the east side during weekdays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Plastic lids and sprayers

Chris I. said: “I’m curious about plastic lids that are on drink containers (milk lids, Gatorade lids, spice cap lids on glass spice containers). Also what about shampoo pumps or sprayers on household cleaners?”

Response: The basic lid should be left on the empty container, said Calvin Davidson with Ray’s Trash. That’s because loose lids are often too small for the sorting equipment and get lost in the process. Still, the lid is almost always made from a different plastic than the bottle and may or may not be recycled, he added. As for the pumps and sprayers, they should always be disposed of with the trash, according to Davidson. These mechanisms almost always contain metal in the form of a spring or ball bearing and are usually made from different plastics than the bottle — making it not as likely to be recycled. Please toss those out, Davidson said.

Textiles and clothing

Taylor F. said: “Textiles that can’t be donated (e.g., old/ripped clothing, worn shoes, etc.).”

Response: The Circular Indiana agrees that textiles are another difficult to recycle item, and there aren’t many places in Indiana that do it. There are, however, some reuse options, even for textiles that may seem unusable. Large or bulky items such as towels, sheets, and even t-shirts can often be donated to local animal shelters — threadbare is fine, the nonprofit said. Just make sure there are no large holes. The group said residents also can find more ways to reuse textiles on Circular Indiana’s website.

An app for that

Gregory F. said: “Almost everything these days is a co-molded, multi-layered or multiple component material.  Does that just mean it is even more likely to be buried, burned or risk contaminating a value stream?  Could the companies like Rays and Republic have some kind of app that allowed you to take pictures of what you are trying to recycle and give you an answer, Yes/No, before you put it into the bin?”

Response: Davidson with Ray’s Trash said that customers should only include plastics that are clearly marked with acceptable numbers — i.e. #1, #2, etc. inside the chasing arrows. He said he gets this question often from well-intentioned recyclers, but unfortunately there are too many “other” plastics out there that are unknown. “When in doubt,” Davidson said, “throw it out.” 

As for the app, Davidson said they’ve discussed it. He said a local college student tried to create a version of this, but found the variety of recyclable materials was much more than he expected and all programs are not the same — which significantly complicates the matter. “Even around Indianapolis where most of the communities are served by Ray's or Republic,” Davidson said, “there are differences within each program.”

Old VHS tapes

Emily M. said: “Where and how does one recycle VHS tapes, not just commercial ones but ones that were used to record TV shows back in the ‘90s?”

Response: Unfortunately, VHS tapes are made of multiple materials and are very difficult to recycle, Circular Indiana said. There are currently no recycling options in Indiana for VHS tapes.

Community recycling bins

Alice R. said: “We try to recycle as much as possible, but it's really frustrating to fill up a recycling container (which we bought), haul it to a recycling bin (only one nearby), and then find that bin completely full. It's unconscionable that Indianapolis doesn't offer free curbside recycling.”

Response: The city’s Sustainability Office said it is “well aware that Indy lacks a universal curbside recycling program, and the public servants on our staff are working every day between now and when our current solid waste contracts expire in 2025 to propel our city toward a cleaner, greener, less wasteful, and more accessible position.”

Part of that preparation involves being a partner in the Indianapolis Circular Economy Initiative, an effort to address Indy’s recycling challenges. Implementing universal curbside recycling across Marion County is also a goal of Thrive Indianapolis, the city's sustainability and resilience plan, SustainIndy spokeswoman Lindsay Trameri said, “which again reaffirms our commitment to the work.”

All the batteries

Ruby O. said: “Household batteries?”

Response: Although difficult to recycle, household batteries like AA and AAA can be recycled at Indianapolis toxic waste drop-offs, which are held three times a month at rotating locations. Technology Recyclers also accepts batteries for free at its facility on the east side during the weekdays.

Wasteful: How Indianapolis became one of the most wasteful big cities in America

Styrofoam and straws

Jeff B. said: “I hate to see so many food establishments still using Styrofoam containers and plastic straws that can't be recycled. I know those items are bought in bulk and cheaper than recyclable options, but wouldn't it be great if businesses could somehow be incentivized to make the switch? I wouldn't be opposed to paying an extra few cents for my meal to have recyclable containers/straws.”

Response: One effective way to incentivize change is through policy. Currently, most of the responsibility is on the consumer at the end of the process, Circular Indiana said. The goal of a circular economy, however, is to redistribute this responsibility and encourage manufacturers to make products that can more easily and consistently be recycled, and also encourage companies to use and distribute those products. 

The nonprofit group, which is supported by donors and members, said to stay tuned for more from them in 2022 on advancing policy in Indiana. Still, the group said to remember that consumers also have power and can encourage sustainable practices among the places they patronize and support those businesses.

Piles of yard waste

Ryan M. said: “Yard waste!!!!! In the town I moved from there was weekly yard waste and compost pickup. Really reduced the amount of trash we had. Sticks, leaves, small piles of dirt, pretty much anything from the weekend gardening project except for rocks and logs of a larger diameter.  In addition, pretty much anything organic from the kitchen went in.”

Response: The City of Indianapolis does offer leaf collection and composting in the fall. There are also subscription curbside composting options from local companies, such as Earth Mama and Green with Indy. The Sustainability Office said outside of the fall, that yard waste is considered a heavy trash item, so folks can utilize their heavy trash day each month for that.

In the meantime, as part of the Thrive Indianapolis Plan, the city is looking to significantly increase organics recycling options for its residents. Folks can also compost right in their home and backyard, which the city encourages where possible. They can learn more about how to do that in a previous Scrub Hub.

Limited monthly events

Tim B. said: “Recycling paint, old TV's, and other electronics is well-nigh impossible, because of the limited opportunities available. One Saturday a month for three hours?  it's hard to keep track of.”

Response: There are multiple ways to recycle these items, the city’s Sustainability Office said. All of these items can be recycled free of charge at a ToxDrop site, which are available three Saturdays a month for five hours each, said Trameri with SustainIndy. 

For a small fee, folks also can drop off their electronics at RecycleForce's Windsor Park facility during regular working hours Monday through Friday. Technology Recyclers also accepts many electronics at its east Indianapolis site for free, though some have a small fee, during weekdays. Lists of the items each accept are available on their websites.

Trameri said she also likes to introduce residents to Best Buy's electronic recycling program: They take most appliances, regardless of where they were purchased from, she said. Lastly, she said to stay tuned for more information about multiple special ECycle events the city has scheduled in 2022. Those are always offered at no cost to Marion County residents.

Tires, plain and simple

Terry T. said: “Tires?”

Response: Whole tires actually cannot be disposed of in landfills, Circular Indiana said. Indiana law requires businesses that sell new tires to accept old tires for proper disposal. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has more information on how to dispose of old tires, and has lists of registered processors that cut, shred or grind tires.

Annual recycling fees

Dave B. said: “Everything, given you have to pay an extra annual fee to have a home pickup recycling bin.”

Response: Circular Indiana acknowledges that “Indianapolis definitely has many recycling challenges!” They said that Circular Indiana is leading the effort to improve recycling through the Indianapolis Circular Economy Initiative, which is a multi-stakeholder and multi-year effort to address those challenges, generate jobs and capture the economic and environmental benefits of a thriving recycling program.

The Scrub Hub: Your questions. Our answers.

Do you have questions about the environment? IndyStar environmental reporters Sarah Bowman and London Gibson want to hear from you.

Submit your questions here!

Call IndyStar reporter Sarah Bowman at 317-444-6129 or email at sarah.bowman@indystar.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @IndyStarSarah. Connect with IndyStar’s environmental reporters: Join The Scrub on Facebook.

IndyStar's environmental reporting project is made possible through the generous support of the nonprofit Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

Source : https://www.indystar.com/story/news/environment/2021/11/15/indiana-recycling-recycle-near-me-how-to-recycle-hardest-items-recyclable/6367695001/

3018
Know What To Throw: Residents Asked To Adopt Better Recycling Habits

Source:Yahoo News

Know What To Throw: Residents Asked To Adopt Better Recycling Habits

Know What To Throw: Residents Asked To Adopt Better Recycling Habits

Source:Waste360

Know What To Throw: Residents Asked To Adopt Better Recycling Habits

Know What To Throw: Residents Asked To Adopt Better Recycling Habits

Source:The Times

Know What To Throw: Residents Asked To Adopt Better Recycling Habits

Know What To Throw: Residents Asked To Adopt Better Recycling Habits

Source:Grist

Know What To Throw: Residents Asked To Adopt Better Recycling Habits