As our leaders scour the state looking for job opportunities for Hoosiers, they’re neglecting one potential job source they see every day … one that could bring thousands of jobs to Indiana: the trash can.
It’s true. While Indiana wrestles with a 7.5 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and our leaders chase any and all reasonable ideas for job creation, we’re virtually burying jobs in landfills by disposing of materials that could be recycled and used in consumer goods.
And we’re not talking about a few jobs; we’re talking about thousands of jobs. A new study by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University confirmed that, if Indiana’s antiquated policies are updated to encourage more recycling, we could realistically create at least 10,000 new jobs in Indiana.
It’s time for our leaders to put an end to our job-disposal habits and promote the policies necessary to create jobs that not only will put more Hoosiers to work but also reduce our negative impact on the state’s environment.
The potential is considerable. Today, 66 percent of what gets thrown away by Hoosiers could be recovered and used as raw material by Indiana manufacturers. Another 17 percent of our waste could be turned into valuable compost.
We know the jobs are out there because we already have recycling industry companies — those that prepare recycled materials for use by manufacturers — that tell us they’d expand if more in-state recycled materials were available. Strategic Materials and Perpetual Recycling Solutions are two examples.
The largest glass recycler in North America, Strategic has a plant on Indy’s south side, where it collects used glass bottles and crushes them to create “cullet,” which is sold to manufacturers to make such products as beer bottles, terrazzo floors, countertops and reflective material for roads. Perpetual Recycling Solutions built a $30 million PET — soda and water bottles — processing facility in Richmond in 2012. They are hungry for more PET bottles and could use every bottle Hoosiers consume today.