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New Monroe County Recycling Facility Plans Still Uncertain

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The citizens advisory committee to the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District discussed plans last week for supporting a new recycling facility. The District’s Board of Directors has been split on the issue of whether to build a materials recovery facility, or MRF, to process recyclables.

But the advisory committee has supported the initiative, going so far as to form a separate working group for the project.

Stephen Hale, a member of the committee, will be leading the group.

“I really kind of see this group as getting up to speed and finding the history of past discussions with MRFs in the district,” Hale said, “When you change something in the system, a lot of things get impacted by those changes and finding where the potential impacts and connections are is a pretty good next step.”

Larry Barker, executive director of the District, told the committee that a bill working its way through the Indiana Statehouse could make the MRF project even more significant.

“This lays out some serious guidelines on how we will be recycling in the future,” Barker said, “One of the goals that the administration has is recycling 50% of the waste stream by 2019. Right now there is about 6.7 million tons of municipal solid waste going to landfills. That’s pulling out about 3.3 million tons of recycling. This is dramatic.”

Toward the end of the meeting, Hale asked Barker what he thought the group should do to support the MRF.

“We have to come up with some sort of outreach program that gets the community aware of what’s coming forward,” Barker said, “The last thing you want to do is spring something on the community when they aren’t aware of it.”

At a meeting in December, the District’s Board approved spending $42,000 to further explore the possibility of building a MRF.

But some board members objected to spending the money, and others have questioned the long-term feasibility of the project.

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