Baseline trends for materials management of Indiana’s municipal solid waste (MSW) metrics have been flat but moved higher in 2021. Overall results show 6.6 million tons of MSW for disposal at Indiana landfills and 1.1 million tons of recyclables for commodity markets (glass, metals, paper, & plastics). The per capita MSW Generation was 7.6 lbs./person/day, and the recycling rate was 21.1%. The data are based upon the annual tonnage from Indiana origins.
The MSW generation for the state is the total amount of MSW from the residential as well as the industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) sectors, for final disposal, recycling, and composting. The ICI sectors may be 40 to 50 percent of the MSW and have greater amounts of packaging waste and dunnage than the residential sector. Indiana has more manufacturing than most states, which contributes to higher MSW amounts.
A recycling rate can be calculated to find how Indiana is meeting its 50% recycling goal by dividing the tons of recyclable materials by the tons of MSW generation. It uses standardized material streams and definitions for MSW and recycling such as set up by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA). Materials not part of the MSW definition are not counted in the recycling rate measurement. They include concrete, asphalt, metals from construction and demolition (C&D) debris, auto bodies, coal ash, foundry sand, and alternate daily cover (ADC).
Transitioning to a circular economy for materials management can help increase the recycling rate and provide economic benefits as discussed in the report, Indiana Recycling Infrastructure and Economic Impact Study.