Recycling is more expensive in Indianapolis than in other cities

Fewer than 10 percent of Indianapolis residents recycle. The city charges $6 a month to get trucks to pick up curbside recyclables.

Indianapolis

David Benson and his family recycle just about everything, from schoolwork to aluminum cans. So he was surprised when he moved to Indianapolis from Washington state to find that he has to pay for the city to pick up his recyclables.

"If you want people to recycle," said Benson. "You have to make it easy and offer an incentive."

Fewer than 10 percent of Indianapolis residents recycle. The city charges $6 a month to get trucks to pick up curbside recyclables.

Since it costs money, Marian University student Brittney Horlacher said she isn't interested.

"I'm a poor college student. Recycling isn't at the top of my list."

So Fox59 wanted to find out how Indianapolis stacks up to other cities of its size.

In Columbus, Ohio, curbside recycling costs $8 a month, but next year it won't cost a cent. Cincinnati doesn't charge for recycling within the city limits, but they do charge in the suburbs.

Right now, Indianapolis charges around $30 a month for trash pickup, which is relatively cheap compared to other cities.

City staffers are planning how to make recycling more attractive to residents, including an option to combine trash and recycling countywide to make it more affordable.

"I have aspirations when it comes to sustainability and recycling," said Ashlee Kilpatrick, with the mayor's sustainability office.

Indianapolis has rolled out a pilot recycling project and so far it's successful.

The first few months are free and after that runs out, it will cost residents $48 a year, which is a considerable savings to what the city charges now.

So if recycling is so good for the environment, creating jobs, and promoting manufacturing, why doesn't the city pick up curbside recycling for free?

"Because it's a very high cost for recycling at this time, " said John Workman with the city's Public Works Department.

Workman is in negotiations to make changes so recycling is cheaper for residents.

David Benson said he finds it funny. It seems the younger generations have the right idea and he has a message to parents on why they should recycle.

"Ask your kids, they know why."

Indianapolis leaders said our comparisons are somewhat misleading, though. They said often times, recycling fees may seem free in other cities but are really disguised in utility costs or taxes.

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