No, not that kind.
Back in Hudnut Administration days, Indianapolis entered into an agreement that was ahead of its time: rather than sending trash and garbage to rapidly-filling and hard to site landfills, we’d use it to generate energy. The City has continued that arrangement ever since.
The problem is, that was then and now is now.
What was a forward-looking effort in the late 1970s is a dinosaur in 2014. In the intervening years, most of America has (grudgingly) recognized the importance of recycling and reuse. Evidently, as with so many other city functions, news of the changes in what constitutes “best practices” hasn’t reached the Mayor’s office. Instead, Ballard has just announced plans for a ten-year extension of its contract with Covanta, the company burning our trash.
The proposed contract would not require people to separate out recyclable items–the promise is that Covanta will handle that messy job by “sorting” at a new plant. As environmentalists have pointed out, the proposed facility is what is known as a “Dirty MRF” (Materials Recovery Facility). It’s called dirty because the quantity and quality of the recycled material is dramatically degraded in the process.
The proposed agreement would recycle a mere 23.5% of the material. Even Governor Pence–hardly an environmentalist–has called for a goal of 50%. Furthermore, the agreement excludes glass, one of the most “recyclable” materials there is. Covanta says there is no market for it; experts say Indiana’s glass industry is desperate for it. Believe whom you will.
Experts tell us that over 92% of what gets thrown away can be recycled or composted. But that requires a well-thought-out, free curbside recycling program, like those run by most other cities our size.
Doing things that made sense in the 1970s don’t always make sense 35+ years later, and “keeping on keeping on” isn’t public management.