A Day in the Life of Your Recycled Garbage | Single Stream Apartment Recycling

By March 6, 2012No Comments

Q:”What Happens to our recycling after AWS Grabs it from the DoorStep?”

A: AWS works to make sure that the effort you put forth to recycle actually happens! With your Green Bin, you practice Single Stream Recycling. Single Stream Recycling (also known as “no-sort” recycling or “fully commingled” or “single-sort”) recycling refers to a system in which all paper fibers, plastics, metals, and other containers are mixed in collection, instead of being sorted into separate commodities (newspaper, paperboard, Corrugated fiberboard, plastic, glass, etc.) by the resident and handled separately throughout the collection process. In single stream, both the paper and plastic go out at the doorstep and AWS works with our partners to properly handle your Removable materials from there. Below you see, the process in action.

Check out the video below showing off the latest, single-stream recycling facility in Arizona. The new Arizona Ecocenter is a $20M, 65,000 sq. ft. recycling monstrosity that can process over 24 tons of materials per hour. In the end, the earth wins!


Single Stream advantages:

  • Reduced sorting effort by residents may mean more recyclables are placed at the curb and more residents may participate in recycling;
  • Reduced collection costs because single-compartment trucks are cheaper to purchase and operate, collection can be automated, and collection routes can be serviced more efficiently;
  • Greater fleet flexibility which allows single compartment vehicles to be used for refuse or recycling, providing greater fleet flexibility and reducing the number of reserve vehicles needed. To avoid confusing customers, a large sign or banner is sometimes used to distinguish when a refuse truck is being used for recycling.
  • Worker injuries may decrease because the switch to single stream is often accompanied by a switch from bins to cart-based collection.
  • Changing to single stream may provide an opportunity to update the collection and processing system and to add new materials to the list of recyclables accepted; and
  • More paper grades may be collected, including junk mail, telephone books and mixed residential paper.


Single Stream Disadvantages:

  • Significant Initial capital cost for:
    • New carts
    • Different collection vehicles
    • Upgrading the processing facility
  • Processing costs may increase compared to multiple stream systems
  • Possible reduced commodity prices due to contamination of paper
  • Increased “downcycling” of paper, i.e., use of high quality fibers for low-end uses like boxboard due to presence of contaminants;
  • Possible increase in residual rates after processing (due chiefly to increased breakage of glass)
  • Potential for diminished public confidence if more recyclables are destined for landfill disposal due to contamination or unmarketability.


“Click Here” to Find out More about Accelerated Waste Apartment Recycling!

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