11 min read

Reader question: What is the state of Fort Wayne’s recycling system?

"I’ve found that, oftentimes, people want to recycle well, but it does take more work than it should, especially the way our system is currently designed."
Reader question: What is the state of Fort Wayne’s recycling system?
One of the biggest factors affecting Fort Wayne’s recycling system is the fact that it’s single-stream, where everything goes into the same bin.

This week, we’re answering a reader’s question about the state of Fort Wayne's recycling system.

They asked:

With all the changes in the industry in recent years, what's really happening for us?  I've seen reports about recycling in other areas just being sent to landfill. Is that happening here? What's the difference in the outcome of taking one's glass recycling to the Smith Road collection point vs. using the city's pickup? How is our single-stream recycling really handling glass? Is our recycled paper being sold, or would it do more good if we used private recycling, like the collection bin at Waynedale Methodist?

To answer: we spoke with local sustainability expert, Jodi Leamon, a Program Manager for City Utilities, Energy and Sustainability Services, who previously worked for the Allen County Department of Environmental Management (ACDEM) for about nine years. 

Jodi Leamon (photo by Stephen J. Bailey)

She says: Your recycling isn't going to the landfill because the city's contract with Republic Services prevents that. However, much of it is being downcycled as filler in construction sites or in roadbed material when it could be upcycled into more sustainable, pristine products if we handled it differently throughout the process. 

In our full interview, we learn more about the system and how to improve it.

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