Single Stream Success
By: Stephen J. Pytak
February 6, 2012
The simplicity of the single-stream recycling system has spurred residents in the communities that use it to recycle more, according to Josh Kreitzer, route manager for Kreitzer Sanitation, Orwigsburg.
"We're seeing an increase in materials of about 15 to maybe even 20 percent, probably closer to 20," Kreitzer said Tuesday, after compiling statistics on the amount of recyclables the hauler collected in the Borough of Schuylkill Haven, which started using the single-stream method in May.
In 2010, Kreitzer collected a total of 220 tons of comingled recyclables from Schuylkill Haven.
In 2011, Kreitzer collected 14 tons of comingled recyclables and 233 tons of single-stream recyclables, for a total of 247 tons.
"I live in Orwigsburg and I'm only putting out a bag and a half of trash a week. Last year, I was putting out about three bags of trash. We're filling up those recycle totes pretty good," Kreitzer said.
Single-stream recycling is a system that makes recycling easier for homeowners, by requiring them to put all of their recyclable items, including aluminum, glass, plastic and newspapers, into one bin, instead of separating them out into two or three bins, or "streams," Kreitzer said.
Communities in Schuylkill County that use this system include Mahanoy City, Pottsville and Lake Wynonah, according to Kreitzer.
Thomas A. Palamar, Pottsville city administrator, said recycling statistics have been on the rise since the city started using this system when it hired Kreitzer Sanitation in March.
"We collected 67,000 pounds of recyclables in March 2011. Then in May it went up to 70,820 pounds. Now that everything goes in the same barrel, it's very simple," Palamar said.
One of the numerous ways communities collect aluminum, newsprint, cardboard and plastic, the single-stream method was developed by the nation's waste-management sector in 1990 in an effort to reduce high recycling costs, according to a 2009 study by the Container Recycling Institute, Culver City, Calif.
Regional trash haulers only started using it the area in recent years, Kreitzer said.
Trash haulers like Kreitzer started offering this style of recycling when companies like Greenstar Recycling, Bath, Northampton County, started accepting the unsorted materials, Kreitzer said.
"For trash haulers, this gives us more tonnage. Recycling isn't just green for the environment. It's green economically as well," Kreitzer said. "We get paid for recycling. It's a commodity. So it's very advantageous for haulers to pick up recycling. And it's also good for the environment. You're using less resources."
Recycling will mean less material is dumped into local landfills, and Kreitzer said possibly this could mean municipalities might eventually be paying less for hauling contracts.