Good news for a change on the Indiana environmental front. As reported today by the Associated Press:
[Democratic state Sen. Jean Breaux] says she's pleased the state has released $500,000 from a fund used to promote recycling and the use of recycled products.
Indiana had suspended the fund for the Indiana Recycling Market Development Program last year. And last June, it shifted $11 million from the fund that finances loan and grant programs to attract recycling businesses to Indiana to the state's main checking account.
That transfer was to help offset state revenue shortfalls.
The report goes on to note that the recycling fund comes from fees collected at landfills around the state. Hoosiers — and large Indiana trash haulers that pay 50 cents on the ton to dump — will doubtless be pleased to know the fees they've been paying are again (at least to some extent) going where they're supposed to.
But it isn't enough. $11 million — if not exactly a drop in the bucket — is still pretty small compared to the hundreds of millions we've faced in budget shortfalls over the last few years. Diverting a little of that money to fill budget gaps in hard times is better than, say, making more cuts in education. But $11 million is overdoing it, and short-sighted.
The $500,000 in restored funds isn't a drop in the bucket — it's a molecule. Any amount of restoration is a step in the right direction. But surely we can do a little better.
It goes without saying that recycling is important. But that money is also good for attracting green businesses with a viable future — which means sustainable, green jobs for Hoosiers. It also means trash haulers — some of whom, like Ray's, have their own recycling operations — will get what they've been paying for.