Recycling at Home

As a consumer, following the three R`s – reduce, reuse, recycle –  can be a great way to advocate for the environment.  Recycle your packaging waste and buy recycled when you can.  Reduce your waste by buying products with little or no packaging.  Reuse items, buy used items, or make something new from an old item.  These simple actions lessen your environmental impact and send a message to corporations.

The Indiana Solid Waste Management Districts are a wonderful source of information about local recycling and reuse options.  To find information on your local district, look here.  For specific recycling information, read on.

Drop-off Recycling
Indianapolis has a city-wide recycling program called Indianapolis Recycles Drop-off Recycling Program, which consists of  sites throughout the city where citizens can drop off their recyclable materials – steel and aluminum food and beverage cans; green, brown, and clear glass; #1 and #2 plastics; and newspapers.

Only some of these drop-off sites collect cardboard. When dropping off cardboard at one of these sites, please break down cardboard boxes before placing in the recycling bin. Find out where the closest drop-off site is to you at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. Also on the KIB site is a comprehensive guide to recycling and reuse. If you live outside of Indianapolis, you can search the Indiana Recycling Coalition’s database to find the nearest recycling location and what materials are accepted.

Curbside Recycling
Many counties have curbside recycling and will pick up recyclables from your home. To find out if curbside is available in your community, check with your local solid waste or public works department. Indianapolis has curbside recycling available to single-family households. The materials collected by the recycling company vary, but generally include the same recyclable materials accepted at drop-off centers. Learn more about curbside recycling in Indianapolis.

Hazardous Waste Recycling
There are drop-off sites to dispose of unwanted household hazardous waste (hhw) in Marion County. Some examples of household hazardous waste are automotive fluids, batteries, lawn care chemicals, household cleaners, paint and wood stains. View a complete list of household hazardous waste materials that should be disposed of properly at a ToxDrop site. Those living outside of Marion County can find their county`s hhw drop-off locations by downloading this hhw directory from Recycle Indiana.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Foam Recycling
Also known as Molded Foam Packaging, this material can be recycled either by drop-off at a facility or by mail-back to a facility. There are a few EPS Foam recycling centers in Indiana. The Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers has a facility in Maryland which accepts mail-in recycling of EPS. Average shipping cost of the material ranges from $1.50 to $9.00.

Compact Fluorescent Bulb (CFL) Recycling

Many people have begun using compact fluorescent bulbs, also known as CFLs, because they use 75% less energy, last 10 times longer and can save 2000 times their own weight in greenhouse gases. However, CFL`s contain mercury, a toxic substance, and should be disposed of properly. CFL`s can be disposed of at any household hazardous waste (hhw) facility OR at any Home Depot location.  Please see the previous section to find your closest hhw location. Visit Home Depot`s EcoOptions site to learn more about their CFL recycling program.

Paper Recycling
Recycling paper not only saves forests from logging, it also saves energy and water. There is a multitude of drop-off locations throughout Indianapolis and all counties in Indiana.  These drop-off locations are serviced by the Abitibi Paper Retriever, which gives the proceeds back to schools and non-profit organizations. The Retriever accepts all forms of paper, including:  magazines, newspapers, junk mail and office paper. Find the Abitibi Paper Retriever near you.

Leaf Recycling
The Indianapolis Department of Public Works collects leaves. These leaves are turned into compost, and available to the public for free.  Get your compost from the Southside Landfill located at 2577 S. Kentucky Avenue in Indianapolis. Or contact the Mayor`s Action Center at (317) 327-4622.

Car Donation
Wheels For Wishes is a car donation program benefiting Make-A-Wish® Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. They offer an easy way to recycle or donate unwanted cars, trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, RVs, or even boats, by turning them into a wish for a local child. Visit the Wheels for Wishes website to learn more or call 1-855-891-9474.

Other Information
If you have another item to recycle or dispose of that is not listed here, visit the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful website for  more information. If you have chemicals, construction materials or other such items that you no longer need but believe could be of use to someone else, you can list them at the Material Xchange. This is a classified ad system created to prevent useful items from being added to the waste stream.