Managing waste and recycling in Bloomington


City of Bloomington trash and recycling bins sit behind Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. The Sustainability Action Plan, expected to be finalized this month, outlines the city’s long-term goals, short-term priorities, responsible parties, timelines and cost estimates related to the city’s sustainability efforts for the next five years.  Andrew Williams

The amount of both solid waste and recyclables in Bloomington has increased throughout the years as IU and the city grow. 

However, many students can be confused about how to deal with trash pickup, recycling and yard waste, and whether they’re eligible for the city sanitation program. 

Bloomington provides curb-side pickup for residents, including students living in off-campus housing, and as of 2017, the city has updated its sanitation services with automated mechanical arm trucks. 

The Bloomington Sanitation Department issues one waste bin for a monthly fee, as well as one recycling bin provided at no cost.

Fees are based on the size of the bin provided. There are three sizes: a 35-gallon, a 64-gallon and a 96-gallon bin. A house or household may trade their bin for a different size, according to the Bloomington site. 

The 35-gallon bin is $6.22 per month, the 64-gallon bin is $10.52 per month and the 96-gallon bin is $16.60 per month.

Bloomington officials stress the importance of placing the bins correctly; otherwise, pickup cannot be guaranteed. 

The City of Bloomington website says bins must be placed four feet from obstacles and 10 feet from vehicles, and they must be at the curb by 5 a.m. on pickup day.

Hazardous waste like gasoline, antifreeze, batteries, paints and other materials should not be put into trash bins or recycling carts, according to the City of Bloomington website. Monroe County has a Hazardous Materials Facility at 3400 S. Walnut St., which accepts these items.

Adam Wason, the director of public works for the City of Bloomington, said in a Sept. 2017 interview the new bins have radio frequency identification (RFID) to provide data which provides information on city participation in the new program by seeing the location of bins.

“We’re moving from an outdated 1950s model of sanitation service delivery to a modern-day, technologically advanced approach, which provides higher levels of customer service as well as higher levels of worker safety,” Wason said in the interview.

According to the Bloomington website, commercial properties, businesses, apartment complexes, housing developments and apartment housing with more than four apartments are not included in the Bloomington service. 

A majority of landlords have deals where trash can be picked up by waste services. For those without recycling at their complex or property, there is a variety of recycling centers in the county where recyclables can be dropped off. Be sure to ask about trash pickup when moving into a new apartment, house or complex.

Sign up for city pickup

If you're moving into a new residence that already has bins, you will begin receiving sanitation services once you have signed up for water service through City of Bloomington Utilities.

If your residence does not have carts, you can contact Sanitation at or 812-349-3443.

Find Your Waste Pickup Day
You can find your collection day through the city's mybloomington tool. Solid waste and recycling are collected on a weekly basis. 

Not in city limits

If you live outside Bloomington city limits or are not eligible for city trash service, you may take your trash in orange bags to any of the Monroe County Solid Waste District's four Rural Recycling Centers for free year-round disposal. Orange bags may be purchased at major grocery or hardware stores. Call the Monroe County Solid Waste District at 812-349-2020 for more information.

This information is subject to change, but is accurate as of Jan. 12, 2018.

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