Indianapolis puts MRF on hold, first step towards a modern recycling program

The development of ‘Dirty MRFs’ (processing mixed garbage to recover recycable materials) has been stymied by citizen dissent and poor operating performance. Most recently, the well publicized dirty MRF proposed for Indianapolis, IN, has been put on hold. Recyclers and environmentalists see the proposed facility as a way to improve the fuel for the Covanta downtown garbage incinerator.  Mass burning of garbage yields from 4,000-6,500 BTUs per pound. By removing glass and metal and drying organic materials (Refuse Derived Fuel) can yield between 10,500-12,000 BTUs per pound.

Indianapolis never has developed a modern recycling system because of this very incinerator. For years relying on drop off and voluntary curbside service, the city never has reached more than a 10% residential recycling rate.

Now, Carey Hamilton, of the Indiana Recycling Coalition, states, “This is the first step towards developing a first-class recycling program for our City.” Hamilton had previously penned an op-ed in opposition to the proposed facility.

Read the article, “Controversial Indianapolis mixed-waste MRF project suspended” – from Resource Recycling,, February 10 , 2016

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Neil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D, directs the Recycling and Economic Growth Initiative. He specializes in helping cities and businesses recover increasing amounts of materials from the waste stream and add value to the local economy through new processing and manufacturing facilities. He is a co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and is a member of ILSR's Board of Directors.