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Monroe County MRF: Larry Barker on Legislation and Recycling”

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Larry Barker, Executive Director for the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District, spoke on January 22, 2014 about the benefits of a Material Recovery Facility for Monroe County. Mr. Barker was invited to the Banquet Facility of Upland Brewery on West 11th street to speak by “Green Drinks,” an informal social networking event that meets every month to discuss and debate ideas on making a greener world. The presentation covered the different types of recycling streams, how facilities process them, and the legislative hurdles in setting up such facilities. Mr. Barker’s talk was recorded live on location for Standing room only, on WFHB

Indiana passes bill to increase local recycling effort

A bill that will increase recycling efforts in Indiana was passed on Tuesday. Indiana State Senator Mike Stoops, who has supported House Bill 1183, talks about what spurred its creation.

“The idea is to identify recycling that is being thrown away with trash,” Stoops says, “We had a study committee that identified a significant amount of recycling in Indiana being thrown into a landfill. There was a lot of discussion about the fact that Indiana was lagging behind other states to turn that material into useful resources.”

The bill will require Indiana businesses and recycling centers to report all recycling activity to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Recyclers of municipal waste can choose to report annually or quarterly, and non-municipal waste recyclers can be report voluntarily. This will be required starting in 2015. It establishes a goal for Indiana to reduce 50 percent of municipal waste by 2019.

“Indiana had a goal like this in the past,” Stoops says, “We didn’t take any steps to get to that goal then. A couple years ago they completely eliminated the recycling goal under Mitch Daniels.”

Senator Stoops says the specific types of products Indiana will be recycling aluminum cans, and that these are beneficial to aluminum companies as well, because they don’t need a lot of processing to recycle the aluminum, don’t need to spend money on mining aluminum ore, and that aluminum doesn’t degrade, so it is always recyclable.

Both Senator Stoops and Press Secretary of the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus Sean Mobley believe this bill will create thousands of jobs in Indiana.

“One estimate is that if we do a better job of getting the recycling out of the waste stream, we could be looking at 10,000 jobs,” Stoops says.

This bill will go into effect along with Senate Bill 324, which bans the disposal of mostly recyclable products.

Any product that is entirely, or almost entirely, made of paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum, or plastic is not to be disposed of in a final disposal facility. Both bills will go into effect on July 1.

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.

Best of 2013 #5 – Neighbors Clash Over Trash: The Fight Over A Downtown Garbage Station

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Issues surrounding trash and recycling were in the news all year long during 2013. Early this year the local solid waste district expanded its services for rural customers. Then, over the summer, a business that accepted recyclables in downtown Bloomington was forced to close due to financial troubles. And in recent months there has been debate over whether the solid waste district should build a materials recovery facility that would process and sell the waste residents throw away. But none of those issues drew as much attention and controversy as a plan to build a new trash transfer station in a residential neighborhood on the west side of Bloomington. An application to build the station at JB Salvage on West Vernal Pike was filed late in 2012, but the plans weren’t publicly discussed until early this year.

CREDITS
The best of 2013 is a production of the WFHB news department.
Today’s episode was produced by Joe Crawford.
Our theme music is provided by Legs
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh

CATSweek: Same-Sex Marriage Resolution, Rules For Secondhand Shops, Proposed Recycling Facility

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In this episode of CATSweek, produced through a partnership between WFHB and Community Access Television Services:

The Bloomington City Council passed a resolution in support of same-sex marriage December 4th; The Board president of the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District announced plans November 21st to renew discussion about a controversial recycling facility; On November 25th, the Ellettsville Town Council held another debate about new regulations on secondhand shops…And more.

Watch the full show on the CATS website.

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