Life's Better Here: Fort Wayne 2011

By Eric Olson

August 24, 2011 Updated Aug 24, 2011 at 6:21 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--Fort Wayne’s newly expanded art museum has become a regional cultural powerhouse with its new emphasis on strictly American works of art. The Allen County Library has one of the most extensive collections of genealogy records in the world, while downstairs workers are digitizing Fort Wayne’s world class collection of Abraham Lincoln documents, preparing them for a new website that will make this city a hub of Lincoln and Civil War research and scholarship. But there’s something we all share in Fort Wayne that says even more about who we are than these monumental, world class cultural landmarks. We’re talking trash.

Recycle mania has hit the city of Fort Wayne, with. 70 percent of this town’s citizens now pulling their brand new recycling carts to the curb every other week…70 percent! Up from about 30 percent just a couple of years ago. The city’s had a recycling program since 1995 but changes along the way like the new carts replacing the old bins and accepting more plastics for recycling…have helped boost participation. And Fort Wayne now gets half the profits from selling recyclables which has led to two recent cuts in garbage fees for everybody. The program’s so successful National Servall is building a new sorting station on East Pontiac Street, and the enthusiasm for recycling is even affecting the way we shop.

“When they go to the stores they’re actually looking at things and saying ‘this one isn’t recyclable, we’re gonna buy this package item,” says city public information officer Frank Suarez. “I think it’s interesting that some people are starting to think that way.”

With all the trash talk about government these days Fort Wayne’s recycling program is an example of a program success…and of people doing the right thing to make life just a little better…down the road.

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