- Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett's administration reports progress is being made on devising a long-awaited municipal recycling program, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.
- The city has been working with consultants to develop a "Thrive Indianapolis" sustainability plan, which will include options for comprehensive recycling programs. The plan is expected to be released in November.
- The city — the third largest in the Midwest — still doesn't have a municipal recycling program after Hogsett chose to halt plans for a mixed waste facility with Covanta upon taking office in early 2016. That controversial proposal, which would have seen curbside material collected in one bin and separated via automation, was the subject of a lawsuit at the time.
A recycling program has been a long time coming for Indianapolis. Up until now, residents had to bring their recyclables for free to one of the city's drop-off locations, or pay out of pocket to have Republic Services pick up recyclables from their homes every other week.
Participation in the paid program is currently about 30,000 households, but that is expected to drop in the coming months since Republic announced it would raise rates to the maximum allowable amount as of August 1. Many residents paid $48 annually for the pickup, but that has more than doubled to $99 each year. Republic has raised collection rates throughout the country in response to difficult market conditions brought on by China's regulatory measures.
Indianapolis still has to figure out the best plan for a widespread curbside recycling program. They're reportedly considering a standard bin program in which residents pay one price for pick-up in addition to a pay-as-you-throw model. Costs associated with each of the proposed models apparently are a significant sticking point. Hogsett has made it a priority to keep the city's budget balanced and leaders accountable to taxpayers on large expenditures.
Although this is a step in the right direction to finally bring a municipal curbside recycling program to Indianapolis, there is still a long road ahead before any plan would be implemented. Once a program is decided upon, infrastructure has to be put in place. Also, city employees believe an educational campaign for the new system would take about 18 months.