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Is Single Stream Recycling Right for Your Business?

December 13, 2013

Thanks to single stream recycling, gone are the days of separating papers, metals, glass, and plastics. While some restrictions still apply, things like pop cans, newspapers, glass jars, and plastic drink bottles no longer need to be sorted into different containers, making collection more efficient and requiring less thought on users behalf.

The approach of recycling all materials in one container can have multiple benefits for your business, including:

  • Convenience: One container means less management of varying receptacles, and less education for employees and customers of how to use each.
  • Increased Participation: Waste Management reports that 30 percent more recyclables are collected through single stream than when separated. The simplicity of the all-in-one container is simply more user friendly.
  • Reduced Cost: While decreasing trash that goes into landfills, single stream recycling can also help reduce collection costs and vehicle emissions.

The Flip Side

While many sing the praises for single stream recycling and its benefits, there are those who are quick to point out the practice’s flaw. According to the EPA, critics argue that single stream recycling leads to increased contamination in collected materials, which means more waste is landfilled or sold at a lower price, instead of recycled as intended.

Contamination in only part of the single bin collection issue. The other problem is that not all materials collected can be recycled. These are called “residuals,” and are made up of waste that shouldn’t have been included in the recycle bin in the first place or items that weren’t sorted properly, all of which goes to landfills. The Hazardous and Solid Waste Education Center research shows that more than 10 times more residuals come from single stream recycling than dual- or multi-stream recycling.

Cost is also said to be a downfall. While there are collection costs savings with single stream recycling, the cost of processing the collected material is higher, and additional costs are incurred for updated collection and processing equipment required by the waste management operation. These are costs that could potentially be passed on to the customer.

Ultimately, the choice for going to single stream recycling is yours given the availability exists, but before you opt for convenience, make sure the cost savings and social impact you seek are present as well.

Our services include hazardous waste disposal, waste management services, hazardous waste removal, industrial waste disposal, and environmental compliance. We offer comprehensive waste recycling solutions and specialize in waste handling and management, including hazardous material handling. Our team ensures safe waste disposal practices and can guide you with waste reduction strategies while ensuring compliance with EPA regulations. As hazardous waste experts, we are committed to sustainable waste practices and offer low-cost waste management solutions. Count on us for efficient waste collection and processing, contamination prevention, and cost-effective waste disposal.

If you’re not sure what sustainable practices are best for the waste generated at your business, Hazardous Waste Experts can help. We can provide competent, knowledgeable assistance with handling your material and helping you manage your hazardous materials in a way that is safe, compliant, and low-cost. For information on recycling hazardous waste or hazardous waste removal, call now at 800-936-2311 to speak with an expert.

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