We have noticed that many people have recently switched your recycling to a single stream service. I am writing to let you know the ramifications of that switch. I would like to make you aware of the many other important reasons that such a switch is not in the best interest of recycling.
Single stream is wasteful. That’s right, the waste companies have promoted single stream so that they won’t lose market share and they use single stream because it does not change their business model. They promote single stream for its convenience for them. It’s easy to say that it is convenient, but so is throwing all your stuff in one trash can. In reality single stream combines and crushes incompatible materials together, resulting in extensive contamination. Remember that the material collected is supposedly destined to be used as a raw material to make products. Those manufacturers want clean material. Single stream commonly creates 25% contamination at their recovery facility and then the purchaser, such as a paper mill, culls out even more contamination before they can use it. By throwing your containers and paper products together for convenience’s sake, just converts a quarter of it back into trash. Including most of the glass that gets crushed and used as landfill cover material.
Dual stream keeps it clean. We have around one percent contamination, which usually consists of non-recyclable materials set out by our customers. There is no cross contamination.
Our material is sorted locally and we are assisted by local developmentally disabled centers. We now hire crews from two fine local organizations, the Benedictine School and Kent Center, to help us sort the bottles and cans. We are looking forward to hiring a third crew from the Caroline Center once we collect a bit more material. Your participation helps us provide local jobs. There are no local single stream sorting facilities, but instead, they are located in Delaware or on the Western Shore.
We are a local non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the best practices for recycling and waste reduction. We have been studying and doing this for over 25 years and we have made these choices for the good of the recycling practice and for the good of our community. By working with us, you are supporting a positive influence on our community, by providing local jobs and opportunities, including local developmentally disabled centers.
In conclusion, we have come a long way, improving our service and making it more convenient as we go along, but the idea of mixing it all together is going too far if one truly wants to recycle well and effectively. We started having everyone sort everything including glass bottles by color. We have invested in a long conveyor for sorting containers, allowing us to offer our dual stream service. In the future we hope to provide a split wheeled cart to offer a yet more convenient system for setting materials out without jeopardizing the quality of the material.