Indiana is perhaps best known for its rolling rural Midwestern landscapes and high prairie Middle American slowness of life. This image may actually be a bit stereotypical, with a large chunk of Chicago’s suburbs (including Gary-a large urban area), as well as Indianapolis also here. Still, Indiana’s connection to the earth has made environmental concerns and recycling-including auto recycling and salvage-a growing feature of life in the Hoosier State. An update on the latest environmental and recycling news in Indiana follows.
Recycling Facility Gets Big Expansion
North Vernon, Indiana is a place you may not have heard of, but which is one of the epicenters of the growing environmental industry. Home to the world’s largest recycling facility for plastic bags, owned by the largest manufacturer of the device loathed by environmentalists across the planet, its proprietor has announced plans to double capacity.
Hilex Poly aims to be the leader in recycled bag production with its North Vernon facility (which is one of the community’s leading employers, now expected to hire more for the expansion). It has pioneered a program called Bag-2-Bag which reverses the distribution process, allowing grocery customers to return their bags to the store to be shipped back where they came from and sent to Indiana to make new bags. The company hopes to someday sell only bags recycled from old ones, a closed loop theory enticing to environmentalists.
Federal Funds Improve Environmental Infrastructure
Northwest Indiana is home to a federally protected lakeshore sand dune range beloved by those who frequent its recreational opportunities. With new funds appropriated by Congress for preservation and improvement of the infrastructure at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, those who have worked to protect the ecologically unique and precarious area are inspired for the future.
Also involved in the environmental appropriation was almost a million dollars for improvement of a water reclamation facility in Portage, Indiana. As population increases in this part of Indiana, the older facilities were being seriously tested and environmentalists feared contamination of waterways and drinking water. The funds will preclude this from happening while improving their biosolid disposal and reclamation technology.
Federal Report Outlines Indiana’s Climate Change Impacts
Global warming has been linked, for the moment, to the production of carbon dioxide, creating an ecological challenge and potential doom. Indiana is not exempt from the costs and consequences of global climate change, and a new federal report detailed some of what the Hoosier State can expect over the coming years.
The biggest negative impact expected is increased flooding, as heavier rains and shorter, milder winters (milder for Indiana, of course) mean the kinds of destructive floods familiar in the Great Plains become even more devastating. Overall, however, the longer planting seasons and higher precipitation suggests Indiana’s powerful agricultural sector could in fact benefit. Migratory birds once uncommon to Indiana have begun to roost there, emigrating from the more southern states they settled in decades ago. This same habitat shift could mean new invasive plant species however, limiting agriculture’s gains.