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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The City of Indianapolis offers a wide range of options for recycling, from curbside recycling to drop off recycling to proper management of household hazardous waste. The City also helps residents and businesses of Indianapolis manage natural resources through education of its programs as well as opportunities with other organizations and businesses.

Everyday, there are items that need to be discarded. It could be a computer or phone, clothing we no longer wear, grass clippings or leaves, food waste, empty boxes and a wide range of other items that people use in their daily lives. What people choose to do with these items once no longer needed can strongly effect the environment.

Household hazardous waste, if not properly disposed of, can end up polluting our waterways (some of which are drinking water sources), our land and our air. When aluminum cans or plastic bottles are not recycled, the value of the limited natural resource is lost. When clothing, furniture or toys still have useful life, finding options for reuse extends the life of the resources and often provides basic needs to the disadvantaged.

Indianapolis follows the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s hierarchy for managing waste in order to get the most value out of the initial resource investment. That hierarchy suggests that one tries to:

First, reduce the waste being generated in the first place, including using durable instead of disposal items (such as dishes, shopping bags, shaving razors, etc). When items are reduced, no new resources are expended.

Second, reuse the waste being generated. When one no longer needs an item but it still has useful life, that item can be reused either in the manner in which it was initially intended or in a new way. For ideas on how to reuse, check out Keep Indianapolis Beautiful’s Reuse and Recycling Guide.

Third, recycle the waste being generated. Recycling takes items no longer needed or useful and turns it into a raw material for new product manufacturing. Glass, paper, plastic, and some metals can be turned into new products that contain recycled content, saving energy in the manufacturing, reducing pollution associated with the mining and extraction of raw materials and conserving a natural resource.