Indiana generated 9.4 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2021 as reported through the Re-TRAC, IDEM Solid Waste and Recycling Data Reporting Program. Reporting indices consist of MSW disposal through landfilling, exports of MSW, energy from waste, recycling, composting, and e-waste recycling. Approximately, 75% goes to landfills, 21% gets recycled, and 4% goes for energy.
The solid waste and recycling infrastructure covers activities by private waste management companies, solid waste management districts (SWMDs), along with cities and towns to service drop-offs, curbside, and commercial accounts. Operations include 34 landfills, 78 transfer stations, 14 material recovery facilities, and 116 compost facilities and a waste-to-energy plant. Other details include:
- MSW is a mix of any garbage, refuse, industrial lunchroom waste, office waste or other similar material that results from the operation of residential, municipal, commercial, or institutional establishments and community activities. It has recyclables from the residential sector and the industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) sectors. Waste characterization studies are typical of MSW composition from the residential sector.
- Recycling is a process by which materials that otherwise become solid waste are collected, separated, or processed and converted into materials or products for reuse or sale. Municipal waste suitable for recycling include glass, metals, paper, plastics, single stream, or any other distinct type of recyclable material. In addition to the standard recyclables, the circular economy has expanded recycling pathways for MSW.
- The term “recycler” includes material recovery facilities, solid waste management districts, and materials brokers from the supply side of recyclables. It does not cover manufacturers/end users that use recyclables as a feedstock for production of basic products such as glass container mills, fiberglass facilities, iron and steel foundries, non-ferrous foundries, mini-steel mills, paper mills, and plastic processors for flake and pellet resins.