Container makers want to restore fizz to state’s recycling fund

Recycling advocates and beverage container manufacturers want the next governor to fully reinstate Indiana’s Recycling Fund.

Gov. Mitch Daniels suspended the recycling fund in 2009, redirecting the 50-cent-per-ton “tipping fee” to the state’s general coffers.

The Indiana General Assembly established the recycling fund in 1990 to help pay for household recycling and hazardous waste programs. It generated only $5 million annually.

In 2010, as money from the $3.8 billion leasing of the Indiana Toll Road in 2006 flowed into countless highway building projects, recycling advocates were successful in getting roughly 10 percent of the collected tipping fees restored to the recycling fund.

“Now that state government is experiencing a budget surplus, we believe the time is right to begin to use the Recycling Fund for its intended purpose,” stated Indiana Recycling Coalition Executive Director Carey Hamilton and 17 industry leaders in a letter sent to Daniels last month.

Daniels punted the decision to the next governor.

The IRC also sent the letter to Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg, who responded that he fully supports restoring the recycling fund. There was no response from GOP candidate Mike Pence or Libertarian hopeful Rupert Boneham, IRC said.

Indiana beverage container makers such as Alcoa, Owens-Illinois and Verallia seek to boost recycling, which reduces the amount of raw material needed to make their products and reduces landfill waste.

Alcoa estimates that $30 million of aluminum winds up buried in landfills each year in Indiana, which has lagged many other states in recycling and environmental policies.•

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