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As Hoosiers try to do their part in sustaining the environment, the adage of “reduce, reuse and recycle” still holds true in the efficient management of solid waste. Recycling involves collecting, sorting, and processing waste material for remanufacturing into new products. See IDEM’s Recycling Fact Sheet (available on the IDEM Fact Sheets page ) for more general information about recycling.
For recycling to work, everyone has to participate in each phase of the loop. From government and industry, to organizations, small businesses, and people at home; everyone makes a difference when recycling becomes a part of the daily routine.
One way for government to help, for example, is to measure what material is collected and what is disposed. Consequently, when industry reports what they ship to recyclers and what materials they process for different manufacturers, both can work to understand where there may be challenges, such as a shortage in a certain material collected or a problem with the quality. This information can be used to increase yields and recycling rates. Continuing the economic chain, manufacturers can let consumers know what the percent of their product is made from recyclable materials, and consumers can change their “throw-away” and buying habits accordingly.
Money earned from the sale of recyclable materials can benefit the individual recycler or help communities and companies offset operating costs. Recycling even allows some communities to reduce waste disposal costs.
Society's energy consumption is also reduced through recycling by decreasing the need to extract and process new raw materials from the earth.
Just think about it. Successful recycling programs ultimately motivate citizens to take the time to collect recyclable materials which would otherwise be thrown away in the trash. If we work to remember recyclables as commodities, not waste, we can do a lot to save resources and money. Everyone doing just a little makes a big environmental impact.
In addition to the suggestions above, IDEM has put together a list of additional resources to consult for additional information. These include websites of trade associations, government agencies, and nonprofit groups and are a great resource to explore.