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SINGLE STREAM RECYCLING

Single stream recycling makes recycling SO easy, almost as easy as using the trash can. And, it is getting us closer to having Zero Waste communities and is changing the future of recycling. Single stream recycling programs are catching like wildfire in many parts of the Unites States. The main goal of using the single stream recycling program is to recycle more types of items and encourage more residents to recycle. Many collectors and recycling programs want increased quantities of recovered materials which are promised with single stream recycling.

Single stream recycling is not anything fancy, in fact, it simply takes the two recycling streams and combines them into one bin, producing, you guessed it- a single stream recycling system. Single stream recycling is more efficient for the collectors who would normally have to run two recycling routes to pick up two different streams. Doing this decreases the most costly part of a recycling program, as well as pollution from the collection vehicles. Using one bin for all your recyclable items increases the ease and convenience of recycling so more people participate and more resources are saved. Single stream recycling makes recycling easier on you at home, at work and on the go. Simply put, it takes recycling to a whole new level.

How it works: Through single stream recycling, all of your recyclables are collected in one bin. That means throwing paper, plastics, glass, etc., into one container instead of separating them. Another bin can be used for composting food scraps and yard waste and your third bin is the trash can (but you will be taking out the trash a lot less if you are using single stream recycling).

Now, thereís no excuse. Many Americanís choose not to recycle because they are confused on what can and cannot go in certain bins. They also feel like it takes too much time and effort. However, now with single stream recycling, you can throw everything together (as long as it is recyclable) and let the recycling center take care of the rest! Many communities are using single stream recycling to help them meet their goals of becoming a Zero Waste community and incorporating the three bin method talked about above.

Over the past three years, Conservatree has interviewed participants using single stream recycling and have found there are different points of view about the advantages and disadvantages of the system. There are so many variations of what people identify as single stream; therefore there is no single assessment that is able to cover them all. Some systems are good, some are bad, however from each they are learning and tweaking the process to create what is needed to make single stream recycling the best it can possibly be. Regardless of how we go about it, recycling has to play a leading role in creating more environmentally sustainable manufacturing methods. However, it can only do that if recyclers take a step back and think about how to sustain a thriving recycling system. The changes that are made now will serve the promise of recycling both now and in the future.

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