What is that? Single Stream Recycling


Sometimes people get upset that their city claims to recycle, yet collects waste in one bin. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. But we don’t always see what happens at the waste management depot. There are advantages and disadvantages to this method.

What is it? Single Stream Recycling

Adopted by many communities it makes it convenient for people to recycle. This is where all of your waste materials get sorted, baled, and are shipped off OR resold for reuse without you having to presort and separate your waste.

It may increase the level of materials recycled since the consumer is not directly involved. However, it isn’t necessarily the best long-term solution as many of the materials can be contaminated.

This brief animation gives a basic overview of what happens at a materials recovery facility.

How does a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) work?

Watch this adorable can walk you through the single stream recycling process.

Single-Stream Recycling — Leading the Way to Zero Waste

Single stream recycling can work for some communities and it is a good start. We still need to look at the best ways recycle, repurpose and reuse and invest in infrastructure and tend to our earth.

You can read more detailed articles on single-stream recycling at the links below.

How It Works: Inside The Machine That Separates Your Recyclables

The most annoying aspect of recycling-and one of the biggest hurdles to its widespread adoption-is having to separate paper, glass, and plastic before they hit the curb. New recycling machines are changing that. With single-stream recycling, recyclables go into one bin, which a truck delivers to a materials-recovery facility, such as Willimantic Waste Paper in Willimantic, Connecticut.

Single-Stream Recycling Is Easier for Consumers, but Is It Better?

Single-stream recycling seems so simple. There is a bin. You put everything that’s not trash-whether it’s paper, plastic or metal-into that bin. The city comes and takes that bin away. Easy. The first communities to use this system, in the 1990s, were in California. By 2005, about a fifth of all U.S.


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