Here's NBC-Connecticut's Ryan Hanrahan on single-stream recycling:
What is single-stream recycling?
It’s the state of the art!
Single-stream recycling is a system in which all recyclable materials –- fiber (newspaper, cardboard, mixed paper, catalogs, magazines and junk mail) and containers (glass, steel, aluminum and plastic) -– are placed, unsorted, in one recycling bin and sorted by state-of-the-art processing equipment at a regional recycling center.
It’s the easiest way to recycle!
Residents and collectors are no longer required to separate paper and containers, making curbside recycling much more convenient. And because paper and cardboard no longer need to be separated, residents don’t need brown-paper bags in which to pack them.
It increases recycling!
Because there’s no sorting at curbside, haulers can use automated collection using 64-gallon or 96-gallon wheeled barrels, as opposed to the familiar 14-gallon recycling bin, so residents can recycle more with each collection. Thanks to single-stream recycling, CRRA's Mid-Connecticut Project has increased its recycling rate for six straight years.
What are the advantages of single-stream recycling?
-- Convenience increases dramatically for residents, especially with automated collection that uses much larger wheeled recycling barrels, since it does not require separation of paper and cardboard from containers.
The wheeled barrels reduce litter and contamination because they have lids that seal tightly. For towns and collectors:
-- Towns save money by paying for disposal of less trash. Collection costs are reduced because trucks can be automated, increasing route efficiencies while reducing fuel consumption, employee injuries and worker’s compensation costs. For the state:
-- Single-stream recycling will be the largest factor in increasing participation and recycling rates, helping the state reach the goal set in DEP’s Solid Waste Management Plan of recycling 58 percent of all solid waste by 2024. For the environment:
-- Single-stream recycling conserves more natural resources conserved and decreases raw materials used.
-- More recycling means less trash delivered to trash-to-energy facilities or trucked to out-of-state landfills.
-- Easier recycling means greater residential participation that drives up recycling rates and reduces trash disposal, lowering costs to municipalities and homeowners.
-- Automated collection means more efficient routes, decreasing truck emissions and fuel consumption.