INDIANAPOLIS | The state could add 10,000 new jobs if Hoosiers recycled just a quarter of their trash that currently goes in landfills.
That's the conclusion of a Ball State University study that found up to 66 percent of Indiana garbage could be recovered and used as raw material by Hoosier manufacturers. Another 17 percent could be made into compost.
According to the Indiana Recycling Coalition, which funded the study, improved recycling rates would result in more jobs collecting, sorting and processing recyclable and compostable materials.
"Indiana has a relatively low recycling rate and a relatively strong in-state demand from our commodity manufacturing sector," said Carey Hamilton, executive director of the recycling coalition. "If we don't take advantage of this, we’re virtually burying jobs in landfills."
Myles Cohen, president of Valparaiso's Pratt Recycling, which is currently building a $260 million paper recycling mill next to its corrugated box plant, said if Hoosiers recycled more, his company could grow even faster.
"We support increased paper recovery from Indiana's waste stream because we believe it's best for the economy, the environment and consumers," Cohen said.
The recycling coalition will ask state lawmakers in January to fund grant programs aimed at boosting recycling rates and to enact policies that support recycling infrastructure and education.
"The resources are available right here in Indiana, and recycling creates more jobs," Hamilton said.