Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for: Recycling Program

  1. What is single-stream recycling?
  2. Why are we moving to single-stream?
  3. But I don’t mind sorting my materials. Isn’t it better for recycling if we separate them like we’ve been doing?
  4. How are the materials separated?
  5. Doesn’t this lower the value of the materials, and won’t there be a lot of contamination?
  6. Won’t the paper get wet if I recycle my commingled containers with the paper? Doesn’t that make the paper non-recyclable?

What is single-stream recycling?

Single-stream isn’t anything fancy. It simply refers to a new system that takes the different "streams" of recycled material and puts them together in one system. Voila. Single-stream. No need to separate paper from plastic or metal from cardboard.

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Why are we moving to single-stream?

Using just one collection bin for all your recyclable items increases the ease and convenience of recycling so that more people participate and more resources are saved. We’re making recycling easier for you - at home, at work and on the go. Single-stream offers more efficient collections for the haulers who normally have to run multiple recycling routes to collect the different streams. This decreases the most costly part of recycling programs as well as the pollution from collection vehicles.

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But I don’t mind sorting my materials. Isn’t it better for recycling if we separate them like we’ve been doing?

We hear you. We’ve been addicted to sorting, too. And, sorting is still critical in that you make absolutely sure you’re recycling only the items accepted. It is also good for recycling if ever-increasing amounts of material are kept out of the landfill and sold in good clean condition to the remanufacturing companies that make new products from recycled material. Single-stream helps to increase this volume of materials.

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How are the materials separated?

Recycling Centers have installed new sorting equipment to automatically sort many of the materials. With the new equipment, there are screens to separate “flats” (paper) from “rounds” (containers). For this reason, we ask that you do not flatten containers or the screen will sort them into the wrong bin. To see how it works, watch this video.

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Doesn’t this lower the value of the materials, and won’t there be a lot of contamination?

Not necessarily. One of the concerns associated with single-stream recycling is that one bin tends to encourage people to suddenly put EVERYTHING that seems recyclable in it. That’s why we need YOU to help demonstrate that a community full of educated, conscientious recyclers can make single-stream recycling a success.

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Won’t the paper get wet if I recycle my commingled containers with the paper? Doesn’t that make the paper non-recyclable?

The paper mills allow up to 5% moisture in the paper they buy, so it’s not a problem. We do ask that you empty and rinse all your containers to keep food contamination out of your bin. But moisture will not ruin the paper. Part of the recycling process for remanufacturing paper includes water, so it is not a contaminant.

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