City plan for free recycling hits a snag

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Indianapolis' plan to bring free recycling to residents has hit a snag.

Opponents of the proposal plan to sound off at a public hearing today encouraging the Board of Public Works to nix the idea.

Right now, residents can either pay for curbside pick-up recycling service or drop it off at a recycling bin for free.

The city wants to extend curbside service to everyone for free and you don't even have to separate out your trash.

But, recycling advocates say that's a problem and they plan to testify at today's public hearing discouraging the plan.

Mayor Greg Ballard announced last month that the city had reached a deal with Covanta.

According to the proposal, people would be able to throw their trash and recyclables into one bin. On trash day, it would all go to the Covanta site on the city's far southside. There is an incinerator there that burns the garbage and sells the energy produced to citizens.

The plan would be to build a $45 million recovery facility where most of the recyclables would be separated on site and reused.

"It's going to be one of the most advanced facilities in the country if not the world," said Marc Lotter, a representative with Mayor Ballard's office. "So, we're going to be a leader in this new technology, this new innovation and hopefully show how other cities can capture things out of their municipal waste stream that would otherwise would either go to a landfill or in Indianapolis it would be incinerated."

The Indiana Recycling Coalition said there are too many questions and not enough answers. They also say there are better, cleaner ways to offer a top-notch curbside recycling program with funding options available.

The Public Works Board gets the final say.

The public hearing is at 1 p.m. today in Council Chambers in the City-County Building.