- Carey Hamilton, executive director of the Indiana Recycling Coalition, has been elected to the state's House of Representatives, as reported by Resource Recycling.
- Hamilton has held her position at the Indiana Recycling Coalition since 2008 and will continue in the role once she takes office.
- In addition to those roles, Hamilton is a board member for Keep America Beautiful. She has also worked on environmental policy in various roles for Indiana's Department of Environmental Management and Greening the Government Program.
Hamilton cited her recycling background as something that voters of all parties could agree on. Recent studies have found that climate change and other environmental issues are very polarizing subjects, while recycling is more widely accepted in many parts of the country. The latest available data shows that Indiana is far below its diversion rate goal so someone with Hamilton's experience could help make that a priority in the legislature.
It's not that common for elected officials to have a strong background in waste and recycling policy. Katie McGinty, former secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection, made landfills a campaign issue in her recent bid for the U.S. Senate but lost to the incumbent. Others with ties to the plastics industry were successful in their latest re-election bids to the Senate and House.
Waste policy is largely decided at the state and local level. The industry is still waiting to see how President-elect Donald Trump will affect national environmental policy, but having elected officials with recycling expertise at the regional level may be even more important in the coming years.