Single Stream Recycling Works

Have you ever wondered if the waste materials you put out for curbside pick up are really recycled? Do you think about ways you could recycle more?

The Environmental Industry Associations (EIA), which represents America’s privately owned solid waste and recycling companies, has noted that as more people and communities participate in recycling programs, confusion has grown about how single stream recycling —in which all materials eligible for recycling are co-mingled in one bin—works, and if recycling even happens at all.

In a single stream recycling facility, waste materials such as jars, cans, paper, cardboard, and plastics are sorted by both high-tech machinery and employees who oversee the process. The use of technology makes recycling much easier and faster and with a greater degree of accuracy.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s latest report shows that the U.S. recycles or composts thirty four percent of the municipal solid waste generated. Single stream recycling, curbside pickup, and technology developments for sorting and classifying have helped to keep that percentage inching up year after year.

However, there is always room for improvement. There are still many communities where curbside recycling isn’t offered. Residents in those locations need to petition their officials to stress the importance of making recycling readily available to all members. In addition, those living in apartment buildings or businesses in commercial spaces may find that recycling services are not available to them. In those cases, tenants should discuss their solid waste services with building owners and make clear that recycling opportunities are a required feature.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Innovations like single stream recycling make it easier and more convenient for everyone to participate. What are things you can do at work or home to maximize the amount you recycle? When you go green you’ll be saving green!