Dear Renee:

I was once told by someone who visited a facility like Ray’s or Republic that they sort through trash and take out things that can be recycled because it saves them money as they have to pay for trash burning somehow – and they can actually make money by recycling the metal and plastic.

I actually heard someone the other day say that I can go ahead and just put something in the trash – it will be sorted through at the trash facility.  I’m skeptical.

Can you explain if there’s any truth in those statements?  I recycle cardboard, plastic, glass, paper and metal at home – we take it to the Hamilton County Waste facility.  I even try to take things home with me from work and other peoples’ homes when I take pop or a bottle of wine with me.  Sometimes it can be a little nutty – I guess it comforts me to know that perhaps if occasionally I put something in the trash there’s a chance it will be sorted through at the trash facility.


Dear Carole,

It comforts me to know that there are people like you who will go the extra mile to recycle at work and when visiting other homes. I was just “that girl” at a recent party – stashing away cracker boxes and plastic tubs to take home and digging through the trash for discarded plastic cups.

You’re right to be skeptical. While Ray’s and Republic do an awesome job at providing single-stream recycling in Indiana, they do not sort trash for recyclables. If you toss something in the trash, it is destined for the landfill or incinerator.

The fee for curbside recycling from either Ray’s or Republic is nominal – it usually averages out to $4-6 a month.

Piece out,



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  • John

    Your friend may have seen or heard that some large unburnable items, including ferrous (iron) metals are pulled from the ashes at the Covanta incinerator after burning but this will never catch smaller items and other, non-ferrous materials. Some transfer stations may allow scavenging of recyclables but anything picked up in Indy likely goes straight to the incinerator or the landfill where scavenging is strictly prohibited.

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