South Side Landfill Educational Resources

South Side Landfill offers a wide variety of educational resources and opportunities to help the people we meet understand that properly managed landfills are a critical part of the infrastructure of a community.


Facility tours are our primary outreach tool. We provide tours to approximately 6,000 individuals every year. The vast majority of those are local students (3rd grade and above), but we also host university classes, civic groups and even large numbers of the FFA conventioneers.

A tour typically lasts about 1 hour and begins with a 15 minute video that describes landfills in general, as well as many features that are specific to South Side Landfill in particular. After the video, groups are taken on a driving tour of the landfill (weather permitting).

Please note that the tours assemble at Buffer Park Golf Course located at 3825 Foltz Street, Indianapolis, IN 46221.

Be sure to check our educator resources for pre-tour and post-tour information that you can use to support your landfill lesson plans.

Landfill Facts

  • South Side Landfill has operated continuously, at the same location, since 1971.
  • South Side Landfill is a family-owned, private business. We are not owned or operated by the City of Indianapolis or Marion County.
  • In 2019, South Side Landfill received approval for our Phase 2N/Phase 3N expansion. This expansion increases the footprint of the landfill by about 42 acres and will allow South Side Landfill to continue to serve the community for many years to come.

Landfill Gas System

  • Landfill gas is generated by the natural decomposition of the waste deposited in a landfill.
  • Landfill gas consists of ~45 – 55% Methane, ~35 – 50% Carbon Dioxide, ~5 – 10% Nitrogen, <1% Oxygen, and trace compounds at parts per million levels.
  • If not properly managed, landfill gas can be a significant source of air pollution or it could migrate.
  • South Side Landfill has been actively collecting landfill gas for beneficial use since the 1980s.
  • Most of the landfill gas from South Side Landfill is currently processed for sale to Rolls-Royce Corporation Indianapolis facilities for use as boiler and/or generator fuel and to Vertellus Specialties, Inc. Indianapolis facilities for boiler fuel.
  • The energy equivalent for the landfill gas delivered by South Side Landfill in 2018: 122,000 barrels of oil.
  • Over time, approximately 20% (by weight) of typical municipal solid waste is recoverable as landfill gas.

Cut-Off Wall

At South Side Landfill, we take our role as a steward of the environment very seriously. That’s why we have invested millions of dollars over the past two decades to install cut-off walls around the entire landfill.

  • A cut-off wall is a structure (completely below ground, and invisible to the naked eye) that completely isolates the landfill from the surrounding groundwater, thus ensuring that the presence of the landfill does not impact the important aquifers in the area or nearby surface waters such as the White River and Little Eagle Creek.
  • The cut-off walls at South Side Landfill extend, on average, more than 91 ft down from the surface and are keyed into the New Albany Shale bedrock.
  • The water levels inside and outside the cut-off walls are monitored monthly to ensure that the levels inside the wall remain lower than the levels outside the wall.

Recycling Activities

From curbside, to recycling center, to re-manufacturing, we’re dedicated to recycling in order to reduce environmental resource strain. South Side Landfill continually takes a hands-on approach when it comes to environmental responsibility. We are always looking for new ways to improve our sustainability, and to lessen our carbon footprint. South Side Landfill has been converting landfill gas into a renewable energy source since around 1990 and strives to be on the leading edge of renewable energy, sustainability and being operationally eco-friendly.

South Side Landfill is a collection hub for recyclable material. From here the recyclables go to different processing facilities such as East Central Recycling.

East Central Recycling, which is an affiliate of South Side Landfill, is a material recycling facility (MRF) that accepts recyclable materials from many companies in Indiana. East Central Recycling sorts and bales many different streams of recyclable material and ships it to different end users nationwide.

Educator Resources

South Side Landfill has recently begun offering resources to educators for use in the classroom in preparation for your visit to our facility, as follow up to your visit, or even for use as stand-alone modules. Please contact us for more information.

Classroom Activities

Additional Links