What Is Single Stream Recycling?

What Is Single Stream Recycling?

While almost everyone knows the overall value of recycling, many people are unaware of what goes into getting your recyclables from the trashcan, to a manufacturer using recycled materials. In general, the recycling process contains two separate options. Dual-stream recycling entails sorting different materials into separate bins, while single-stream recycling allows for many types of items to be included in a single container. This latter option is actually preferable thanks to its convenience, and as a result an increasing number of municipalities have opted for the single-stream process over the last few years.
Once recyclables are prepared according to a single-stream program’s specifications, haulers collect these items. These items are transported to a local materials recovery facility, where they are sorted according to designation (i.e. plastic, metal, glass, etc.). From there, items are broken down even further. Once this occurs, recyclables are then compacted into sizable bales that can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. These bales are utilized in the manufacturing of new items, ranging from water bottles to various paper products. In general, bales with a lower contamination rating are preferred when making new items, which is why it’s so important to properly clean all recycling before placing it into a container.
To learn more about where your recyclable items actually go once they leave your home, please see the accompanying infographic.

Where Your Recyclables Go

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