Throughout 2016, numerous articles concerning the promises and pitfalls of recycling efforts across the country have graced my computer screen. CEOs and other upper management folks stating things have to change; markets need to improve; the focus must shift to “other” materials and everyone keeps searching to create a better wheel. One thing that certainly does seem to change is the headlines — the articles essentially carry the same story, but the authors create a better headline to make readers believe they’ve found a new wheel.
A recent article on the 2016 State of Curbside Report stated that "among communities that recovered over 400 pounds per household, 96% used single-stream collection. Carts were used in 83% of these programs." There is no mention of the contamination rates of the study participants, nor the average cost for single-stream versus the collection methods they replaced, but they readily point out the average disposal cost for municipal waste. Not long after, another article states that Chicago’s "blue cart" system is failing. Where’s this new wheel that claims this recently created phenomena called "single-stream" is driving recycling to all-time highs? Were the engine blocks and bowling balls in the blue cart system counted towards the 400-plus pounds per household? read more >>