Residents of Central Indiana have experienced significant changes related to trash and recycling services over the past year. Waste Management’s (WM) acquisition of Ray’s Trash Service in the fall of 2022 has opened the door for some new, smaller waste management companies to enter the marketplace, but it has also disrupted a system that many in Hendricks County were accustomed to.
The Hendricks County Recycling District is a unit of Hendricks County government that promotes waste reduction, recycling, and proper waste management in the community. The Recycling District does not provide curbside trash or recycling services but does provide five Tox-Away Days annually, two seasonal Yard Waste Recycling Centers, and three Recycling Drop-off Centers across the county. These services help residents manage the waste they generate.
Lenn Detwiler, the Hendricks County Recycling District’s Executive Director said, “We’re fielding a lot of questions from residents trying to find answers. Many of the inquiries are from residents who had curbside recycling at their home when they were customers of Ray’s. But, after making the transition to WM, they have opted to switch to other trash haulers that do not currently offer curbside recycling service. As a result, they’re contacting us to find out about locations where they can drop off recyclables.”
Additionally, many of the green and yellow Paper Retriever bins that were once found at many local schools, churches, and shopping centers have been removed. Detwiler says that many residents who previously didn’t subscribe to curbside recycling would still recycle their newspapers, magazines, junk mail, and more at those locations. He added that his office takes calls daily from residents looking for alternatives.
Detwiler explained, “We continue to encourage residents to subscribe to curbside recycling. Yes, it costs a few dollars each month, but it’s a great, convenient way to recycle. Our Recycling Drop-off Centers are in parts of the county where residents don’t have the option to subscribe to curbside recycling.”
In April, the Recycling District opened the new Lizton Recycling Center at 8976 N. State Road 39 which accepts plastic bottles, jugs, and tubs, newspaper, office paper, metal cans, glass bottles and jars, corrugated cardboard, and more. Activity at the Lizton Recycling Center has been robust with more than 8,800 visitors and nearly 100 tons of recyclables collected since it opened. Detwiler said, “The biggest benefit of the attended center has been that we’re able to answer questions face-to-face and ensure that only the correct items are going in the bins. Most of the folks coming to the center appreciate understanding the rules and knowing that what they’re putting in the recycling bin is getting recycled.” The materials collected at the Lizton Recycling Center are sent on to recyclers in Crawfordsville, Whitestown, and Indianapolis. The Lizton facility is open Tuesday and Thursday from 9AM to 6PM, Wednesday from 1PM to 7PM, and Saturday from 9AM to 3PM.
Users of the Recycling District’s centers in Coatesville and North Salem will also see some changes as the District has contracted with a new service provider. Freshly painted and decaled recycling bins were recently delivered to the recycling centers. Users are reminded that all the materials should be placed loosely in the bins and no plastic bags are accepted.
Recycling programs in some nearby communities are struggling. Morgan County recently announced that it is temporarily closing its recycling sites due to
ongoing issues of illegal dumping and increasing program costs. Recycling bins located behind the Kroger store near Country Club Road and Rockville Road on the west side of Indianapolis were recently removed by the City of Indianapolis. Signs posted at the location indicate that the bins were removed at the request of the property owner. The removal request was most likely due to the bins getting overfilled and material left on the ground.
Detwiler said, “Successful recycling programs take cooperation. Residents need to understand and follow the rules for whatever program they’re participating in. We ask folks to do a little bit of research – just because you want something to be recyclable doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. Reach out to us or visit our website, RecycleHC.org, for information. We’re excited about the future of recycling in Hendricks County.”