Indianapolis aims for better recycling plan

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis is making plans to get better at something it doesn’t do very well, right now.

The City says it has a plan to get “100 percent participation” in recycling, some day.

“Right now, about 10 percent of the material in Indianapolis gets recycled,” says Marc Lotter, Communications Director for Mayor Greg Ballard.

Monday afternoon, Lotter told 24-Hour News 8 the plan relies on Covanta, the company that runs the city’s trash incinerator. It will build a plant to separate most recyclables from the rest of the garbage.

“And it’s not going to cost taxpayers anything,” Lotter said. “It’s not going to cost people at home anything. It’s not going to cost the government anything. Covanta is taking all the risks that they can get that material out of there. They can resell it. And make their money back.”

Covanta’s new plant will be an “advanced recycling center” on the south side of Indianapolis, as is the incinerator.

Lotter said “they will separate [the recyclables] using technology before it goes to the incinerator.”

That would make Indianapolis “a leader” in such recycling technology. Right now, Lotter said there is only one other system “kind of like it in the world and that’s over in Cyprus.”

The new system won’t work with every kind of waste. At least, not right away.

It will start with “paper and it will be plastics and it will be metals. Later down the road, they’ll hope to add new technology that will add glass and other organic material. So it’ll just start there in the beginning and will grow from there.”

Until all of it can be collected, people may recycle as they have been, if they want to make sure everything is re-used.
Or they can choose not recycle at all.

Lotter said the Mayor will reveal the details of the recycling plan next week. But, Lotter predicted the coming changes will boost the amount of recycled material by about 500 percent in Indianapolis. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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