New nonprofit, public express desire for new downtown recycling center.



Three months since the Downtown Bloomington Recycling Center shut down, community members are displeased with the limited options for recycling disposal in the city.

About 50 people met at the former downtown recycling center Sunday afternoon to rally against the lack of accessible recycling options.

The Bloomington Indiana Recycling Collective, a recently founded nonprofit made up of former DBRC volunteers, put on the rally to ask the public to assist the group to find a place to establish a new recycling center downtown.

The downtown center operated from 2011 to November 2016. Located in the parking lot of city government buildings at 489 W. 10th St., the center was forced to shut when the city wanted the parking spaces back for the Certified Technology Park.

BIRC asked rally attendees today to help find places downtown where the group could establish a new recycling center, possibly in another parking lot. BIRC wants to relocate the facility’s recycling bins and solar-powered office, according to a press release.

“Because the city is unwilling to provide a space to recycle downtown, we have to depend on the community to find a space,” BIRC president Caddie Alford said.

The only recycling center in the city is located at 3400 S. Walnut St., which is near the most southern bounds of the city.

The former downtown site received up to 150 drop-offs per day, according the release. Last year, the downtown recycling center received 300 tons of material. This was a little more than 10 percent of the total recyclable material picked up by the Monroe County solid waste district last year.

Bloomington Common Council member Stephen Volan spoke at the rally to express his support of the development of a new recycling center. Volan, a member of the Solid Waste Management District board of directors, said the BIRC was a group the public could trust to help start a new center.

“These people know what they’re doing,” Volan said. “I’ve seen the numbers, I’ve seen them in action, and I can vouch for how well they’re doing.”

Volan suggested various parking lots, such as the lot at Second and Rogers streets across from the IU Health hospital, or for the group to have a temporary spot set up while it searches for a more permanent place.

Bloomington resident Kelly Saunders came to the rally in order to see what BIRC would propose or envisioned for a new center. She said the Walnut Street location is too far to take her recycling, and her home in Trail View Neighborhood does not have curbside pickup options. The new neighborhood established by Habitat for Humanity will not have a dumpster built until 2020, she said.

“I’m looking to see what the group proposes,” Saunders said.

BIRC members said they may need to coordinate with zoning regulations or subjected to move again in the future if the city continues to use properties for development projects, but that the having any recycling center was better than none.

“A vibrant downtown can be a responsible downtown,” Alford said.

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