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Single Stream Recycling ~exploring the impact~. Rob Taylor NC Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach. Questions:. How has single stream changed the dynamic of the recycling industry? How and why are recycling programs making the switch to single stream?. Explore:.

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single stream recycling exploring the impact

Single Stream Recycling~exploring the impact~

Rob Taylor

NC Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach

  • How has single stream changed the dynamic of the recycling industry?
  • How and why are recycling programs making the switch to single stream?


  • The impact that single stream is having
  • Best Management Practices for the single stream age
  • Why Single Stream Matters
  • Looking at the Results
  • Curbside Recycling and Carts
  • Drop-off Recycling and Compactors
  • Expanding Access to Single Stream Recycling
  • BMPs
  • Some Thoughts about Glass
why is single stream so significant
Why is Single Stream So Significant?
  • Collection is the most expensive aspect of providing recycling service
  • Single stream recycling enables more efficient collection for both drop-off and curbside programs
  • Ability to commingle removes a barrier to participation
  • Change to single stream is associated with significant increases in participation and diversion
curbside recycling before and after single stream recycling
Curbside Recycling: Before and After Single-Stream Recycling

Program growth is further enhanced by transition to carts

cart based collections
Cart-Based Collections
  • Enabled by single-stream processing
  • Make automated collection possible
  • Make use of RFID systems possible
  • Reduce work-related injury
  • Increase ease for citizens
  • Increase capacity for storing recyclables (18 gal vs. 95 gal)
  • Easier to add new materials to program
  • Make every-other-week collection less problematic
  • Business case: ROI~ 5 to 7 years, can be even quicker

How Does NC Stack Up?Penetration of Carts in Curbside Programs

Since 2008, increase of 13 million gallons of home recycling capacity

DEAO Cart Grantees

single stream and drop off recycling
Single-Stream and Drop-off Recycling
  • Simplify – no need for sorting
  • Fewer containers taking up less space
  • Allows for compaction to maximize hauling efficiency
  • Counties should strongly consider compactors at staffed convenience sites (more payload, fewer hauls)
mrfs make single stream possible
MRFs Make Single Stream Possible
  • Recent additions to MRF landscape serving NC:
  • American Recycling in Asheville, NC; Bay Disposal in Hampton, VA
  • Benfield Sanitation MRF in Mooresville, NC; North Davidson MRF in Lexington, NC
  • Sonoco MRF in Jacksonville, NC, Waste Management in Winston-Salem, NC
hubs spokes transfer systems help communities access mrfs
Hubs & Spokes: Transfer Systems Help Communities Access MRFs

= accessible single stream MRF

= transferring county

= good candidates for transfer

bmps for single stream programs
BMPs for Single Stream Programs
  • Carts for curbside programs
  • Compactors for drop-off systems (when practical)
  • Don’t miss the chance to add materials to your program:
    • All grades of paper?
    • Gable-topped and Aseptic Cartons?
    • Non-bottle Plastics?
  • Think of the future when buying / replacing equipment:
    • Automated or semi-automated collection using one staff
    • RFID in carts & readers on new trucks
  • Refresh your PR when making program changes
  • Don’t forget to track program data
single stream and glass
Single Stream and Glass
  • Glass can impact the quality of materials produced by single stream systems
  • MRF operators love to complain about glass:
    • Issue 1 - Equipment wear and tear
    • Issue 2 - No profit for MRF in handling glass
  • Not all MRFs are created equal when it comes to the quality of glass produced
more on glass
More on Glass
  • Glass recycling really matters to:
    • Glass bottle producers
    • Glass Cullet Recyclers (Reflective Recycling, Strategic Materials)
    • Consumers (who want convenient glass recycling)
  • System Cost of Glass Recycling vs. Cost of Glass Disposal


  • Communities can keep glass separate, maybe…
  • MRFs can get better at handling glass, maybe…
  • End users can pay more for recovered feedstock, maybe…
the cat s out of the bag
The Cat’s Out of The Bag


Conclusion: Single Stream is Advancing Recycling in the Carolinas.

Let’s make it work!

thank you
Thank You!
  • Questions / Discussion??
  • For more information please contact:

Rob Taylor, Local Government Team Leader

NC Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach

Phone: 919-707-8139