The commodities slump is nearly four years running, with devalued materials from weak demand and low oil costs taking their toll on recyclables markets. And this is happening while contamination continues to plague recycling streams. Some say the latter problem is exacerbated by single stream recycling, which broaches the question, has the blue bin passed its heyday?
Santa Monica, Calif., says no. In fact the city underwent a major overhaul two decades ago, converting from dual stream to single stream, and it has no intention of turning back.
Portland, Ore., on the other hand, rejected single stream from the start, and likely will never budge, according to their solid waste and recycling program manager.
It's emblematic of the debate that is playing out within the industry. Single stream’s proponents and opponents typically agree on a few points: it’s easier for residents, cheaper for haulers and harder on recyclers than dual stream systems. Beyond that, things get dicier. read more >>