Single Stream Recycling

**Image obtained from Google Images**

UMaine is advocating for this method and I’m doing a little research for my paper. I found this review completed by the Container Recycling Institute and just by reading the introduction, it seems there’s a lot of things that need working out before this method will be useful.

While proponents of single-stream will say that this method means lower collection costs and creates a simpler recycling system, Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and manufacturers will argue that processing costs are bound to go up (more manpower will be needed to sort everything). Also, the final product obtained from the single stream of recyclables will be of an inferior quality, due to the amount of material contamination. For instance, say a stack of paper comes into a paper mill to be broken down and made into more paper, or another paper product. That stack, coming from a single-stream collection facility, will probably contain bits of broken glass, plastic bottles and all manner of other objects. This could gum up the machines used to sort the paper and the final recycled paper will not be of as high quality as something that was recycled using the current method of separation.

Single stream recycling is a new idea and most new ideas and technologies must go through many trial and error periods before all of the kinks are worked out.

I’ll post more to this as I read the paper!

Understanding economic and environmental impacts of single-stream collection systems


2 thoughts on “Single Stream Recycling

  1. Monica

    A good idea in theory but not realistic. Someone will still have to separate things. The process can be automated only up to a point.

    And I like the addition of the picture too. πŸ™‚


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