The Indiana Recycling Coalition (IRC), an affiliate of the National Recycling Coalition, celebrated a 25 percent membership growth this year. The 19-year-old organization has been working toward their mission to support source reduction, reuse, composting and recycling activities in Indiana.
IRC's funds — from various sources including grants, membership fees, fundraisers and private donations — have helped the organization's efforts to educate and act on legislations.
New Executive Director Carey Hamilton, is the first full-time director of IRC and is very optimistic about her agenda since taking the position in September. Hamilton has been an environmental advocate for 14 years.
“Reducing, that's where we start,” Hamilton said.
IRC has been working on legislation in the Statehouse for two years. They started with the Defend Recycling campaign. The slumping economy has negatively affected recycling, and recycling bins have been removed from certain locations because of costs.
Hamilton believes that government is interested in job creation and “green” jobs are getting more appeal. “There is clearly support for the sustainability initiative,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton is excited about the city planning on granting free curbside recycling to one of the 12 sectors of waste collection in Marion County. “Everyone will be able to get a bin and there will be no charge,” she said.
Recently IRC's efforts have been to educate people about the export disaster represented by America's used electronics. Americans throw out 130,000 computers each day. Most end up shipped to Third World countries and not properly disposed of. Indiana is not exempt from the problem.
“My rough calculation over this past summer, doing some research at the districts around the state, is that we are collecting less than 10 percent of the electronics that are being put into the waste stream right now,” said Hamilton. “Of those 10 percent, the ones that are getting properly recycled safely in the United States we think is very small because of the export concern.”
The major problem with this export disaster is that people are getting the metals out of the monitors and TV screens and exposing themselves to the harmful properties. “The average television screen and older computer screens have four pounds of lead,” said Hamilton.
There are many ways to help the situation. Two ways are to make producers more responsible and make people pay for how much trash they create. This latter proposal is already occurring in Bloomington. They call it “pay as you throw.”
IRC is involved in an upcoming event, in partnership with America Recycles Day Indiana (IRDI), where high school students have the opportunity to make a video to educate on the importance of recycling electronics. The “Don't trash your TV! Video contest” has already started and will continue until Jan. 15. Cash prizes will be awarded.
What: IRC Anniversary Celebration and Open House
Where: This RSVP event will be held at their new office location in the Indiana Humanities Council’s historic building at 1500 N. Delaware St.
When: Friday, Dec. 5
info: For more information about the IRC and to find links to recycling resources, Visit: www.indianarecycling.org.