This is part of a series of blog postings of Schmidt Associates architects’ responses to the American Institute of Architects (AIA)-Indianapolis invitation to write letters to Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Architects submitted big or small ideas to improve the urban built environment for Indianapolis and were on display at The Hall during June and July of 2014. Follow our blog to see future posts.

Dear Mayor,

It is time for a paradigm shift in what society perceives as waste. Indianapolis will not progress towards a goal of sustainability with an attitude that says throw everything away and someone else will pick out the valuable pieces later. It is everyone’s responsibility to play a role in a more sustainable Indianapolis.

Reward recycling by changing the pricing structure to make trash disposal more expensive. Reduce the size of the general waste containers and increase the size of curbside recycling. This saves the obvious resources of metal, glass, plastics and paper products and allows them to be repurposed.

However, the embodied energy of organic waste should not be overlooked. Composting of organics; yard and food waste (piloted for the Super Bowl) should be expanded to include all commercial and residential producers. At a minimum, recover the nutrient value of the organics mixing it with yard trimmings, etc. to create compost for landscape purposes. A more visionary goal should be to recover the residual energy in these products utilizing anaerobic digestion and utilize the biogas to power a district energy plant, such as Citizens thermal steam and chilled water services.

Wouldn’t it be cool to have downtown Indianapolis powered by the food scraps and yard clippings that are currently thrown away?


Craig Flandermeyer, RLA, LEED AP