INDIANAPOLIS — A Pike Township Trustee hopes the city of Indianapolis will find a way to give nearby residents more options for recycling on the northwest side of Indianapolis.

Friday morning, Pike Township Trustee Annette Johnson took to social media to draw attention to an eyesore outside her office at the corner of West 56th Street and Lafayette Road. The recycling collection box was overflowing and surrounded on the ground by discarded junk. Some items, like cardboard boxes, were recyclable. Other items were not.

“We don’t want furniture, we don’t want household items, lawnmowers, couches, chairs,” Johnson said.  “A microwave, a stove, a refrigerator.”

On one hand, Johnson said residents need to be smarter about what they’re bringing to recycling drop-off sites.  

On the other hand, of the 16 recycling drop-off locations around the city, the bin outside Johnson’s office is the only one in Pike Township. Recycle bins previously located at two nearby Kroger stores are no longer available to the public. That, Johnson said, has left northwest side residents with few options for recycling drop-off.

Even though the bin is emptied by DPW crews five times a week, Johnson and nearby residents said it’s often too full to drop off additional items.

“Sometimes I’m lucky, and sometimes not so lucky,” said Pike Township resident Gail Taylor. “It is making it hard for me because if I can’t find a place to put this in, it’s going in the trash.”

Johnson is now planning to start a petition for Pike Township residents to show their interest in adding new recycling bin locations before putting in a request to the Department of Public Works.

“We understand that the Pike Township site is one of the only regional recycling sites on the west side, and we would love to add more boxes,” said DPW spokesperson Ben Easley. “But adding sites often comes down to having space, often on private property, to host the recycling collection boxes.”

Johnson said she would be willing to host a second recycling bin in her office’s parking lot if it would help alleviate overflow. 

“We want to be good stewards of the township,” Johnson said. “But at the same time we don’t want to cause where we have this trash overflowing every day.” 

Easley said DPW would look into that option, although it’s not clear if there is enough space at the location to accommodate a second box.

“Property owners interested in hosting a drop-off recycling site should email sutainindy@indy.gov,” Easley’s statement said.  

Site proposals need to have space at least 80 feet long by 40 feet wide, along with plenty of extra clearance for safe access and traffic flow.

Easley said DPW is still working to launch universal curbside recycling throughout Indianapolis. However, that’s not expected until 2025. Meantime, residents can sign up for subscription curbside recycling service through Ray’s Trash Service or Republic Services. Information on that can be found on the city’s website.