In 30 seconds: How Indianapolis has fallen behind in recycling

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Sarah Bowman and Emily Hopkins, Indianapolis StarPublished 11:22 a.m. ET Jan. 30, 2019 | Updated 11:59 a.m. ET Jan. 30, 2019

Indianapolis is the largest city in the country without universal curbside recycling, a fact that frustrates residents and confounds visitors.

What’s more, many people in the recycling industry view Indiana — with its robust manufacturing sector — as a missed opportunity to take advantage of recycled materials.

This month, IndyStar published a deep dive into Indiana’s recycling industry and an investigation into why, in 2019, the state’s largest city still lacks a modern recycling system.

Here are the main takeaways from reporting by IndyStar’s environmental reporting team:

►Indianapolis recycles only 7 percent of its trash, whereas the national average is 35 percent. The top city, San Francisco, recycles 80 percent.

►Indianapolis is among the most wasteful cities in the nation, when it comes to recycling. Of the top 20 biggest cities, it has the worst recycling rate — or the amount of material diverted from going to the landfill or incinerator. It beats out only Detroit and New Orleans among the top 50 most populous cities.

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