Updated on June 10, 2013
Single Stream Recycling – Take 2
I found this infographic in the Sappi ‘Rethinking Recycling’ report about single stream recycling. It’s a great way to visualize how single stream recycling works, and the benefits that are associated. It’s fairly well established that single stream recycling saves money (better recycling rates due to proper sorting at the facility) and reduces emissions (takes trucks off the road).
However, there is an issue with paper becoming contaminated by being mingled with everything else (like food and liquids that damage the integrity of the fiber). If it were up to me, I’d say to separate paper and compost, and put everything else together. Also, remember to keep out plastic shopping bags, as these get easily caught in the machinery at the Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and either damage machines or require manual removal (costing time and money). You can reuse these bags or bring them to your local grocery store for proper recycling.
The Sappi report is also pretty insightful for deciding between virgin paper vs recycled content paper (and it’s nicely written with lots of colorful charts and graphics). Depending on the application, you might be surprised by the arguments brought forward!