Proposed Muncie Zinc Recycling Plant Falls Like Lead Balloon

Waelz Sustainable Products, or WSP, was working on a project in Muncie to open a steel-dust recycling plant that would take and recycle steel-dust into zinc oxide products. The WSP’s original goal was to have this plant done by the end of 2020, however, citizens of Muncie have been protesting the project, arguing that by recycling steel-dust would put harmful mercury and lead toxins into the air. 

The director of WSP explained how this plant could create between 90 and 210 new jobs and that no harmful emissions would be put into the air. Still, concerned citizens fought the MRC and WSP on the project. Muncie residents created a Facebook page called, “Change of Plans- Mercury, Lead in Our Systems,” where they set up protests and petitions to fight the project and prevent it from going through. A petition was set up online with the goal of 15,000 people. It is currently around 10,500 signatures with the numbers increasing with every second. 

In the end, the citizens prevailed, with the MRC announcing that, “any economic development agreements related to the project have mutually been agreed to be voided,” after a City Council meeting this past Tuesday. The resolution was that the MRC would purchase an 85 acre former Borg Warner site that would provide site-control and find a buyer who could properly remediate and redevelop. The director of WSP states that the citizens of Muncie were misinformed and didn’t give it a chance, but that they wished nothing but the best for the citizens, and have decided to end the project and move on from Muncie. Discussions of moving the steel-dust recycling plant in other cities are currently underway.