By now you have probably heard of single stream or commingled recycling. But what is it exactly? How does it work? Is it better then dual stream recycling?
Here we have answered all of your questions about single stream recycling.
What is Single Stream Recycling?
Single stream recycling is the system in which all recyclable materials (paper, plastic, metal, and glass) are commingled into one recycling bin, instead of being sorted by the depositor into separate bins.(1)
With single stream, both the collection and processing systems are designed to handle this fully commingled mixture of recyclables, with materials being separated for reuse at a materials recovery facility (MRF).
What is Dual Stream Recycling?
Dual stream recycling involves collecting fiber products (paper, cardboard, boxboard) separately from other mixed commingled (glass, plastics, aluminum) recyclables.
Benefits of Single Steam Recycling
For the Customer
Convenience – Users don’t need to decipher between what recyclable material goes into what bin. They can simply drop all recyclable materials into one designated bin.
Space Saver – Users only need one recycling bin rather than four different recycling bins (1 for paper, 1 for plastic, etc.) so there is no need to surrender valuable space.
For the Environment
Increased Recycling Efforts – With the recycling process made simple, people are more likely to participate in recycling programs.
Saves Landfill Space – Increased recycling efforts means less recyclable materials ends up in landfills which help save space.
Lower Greenhouse Gas – With recyclable materials designated to one bin collection routes become more efficient which decrease truck emissions and fuel consumption.
How Action Environmental is Revolutionizing Single Stream Recycling
One criticism of single stream recycling is that the “MRFs can’t separate recyclables quite as well as a system that never mixes them together to begin with.”(2)
Here at Action Environmental we are changing that!
Our materials recovery facility (MRF) is the only one of its kind in the region, and possibly the country. Our recycling center extracts higher quality recyclables out of the waste stream and prevents them from ending up in landfills.
On site, we have an advanced new technology – the REDWAVE NIR/C.
The REDWAVE NIR/C is an optical sorting machine that recognizes and separates the material and the color in only one step. Different kinds of material, like colored printed and not printed cardboard, catalogues, newspapers, magazines, plastics, etc. can be identified by Near Infrared. There is a big advantage in the separation of brown and gray cardboard due to the additional color sensors.
In early 2014, this facility received recognition at the Global Green Sustainable Design 14th Annual Awards for increasing recycling of valuable materials citywide.
Check out our optical sorter in action:
Acceptable Items for Single Stream Recycling
The following items are acceptable for single stream recycling:
PLEASE make sure you DO NOT include any food waste or residual food waste with acceptable recycled items!
All acceptable items MUST BE put into CLEAR plastic bags!