Single stream means all the recyclables (glass, plastic, metal, and paper) are mixed together in a single-compartment truck. Currently our recyclables are sorted into a multi-compartmentalized truck with only
like-items sharing a compartment. This curbside screening of every single bin, and sorting reduces contamination to almost zero.

As a taxpayer paying for residential recycling, I want a program that supplies re-manufacturers with the cleanest, highest quality material our community can provide, so the materials get made into new products. If collected materials are contaminated and not marketable, than we AREN’T recycling. That means taxpayer dollars get wasted, on manpower and energy usage for collection, transportation, sorting, baling, more transportation, and finally disposal.

Just like we require documentation of the journey of our collected hazardous materials, it’s time for legally required proof that collected recyclables are made into new product. Two stable domestic markets should be legally required before any item can be added to a collection program.

$300,000 has been allocated to Kessler Consulting of Florida for a study and pilot project of composting and single stream programs. Was all that expense really necessary? According to his website, Mitch
Kessler has served on the Florida SWANA (Solid Waste Association of North America) Board for 8 years. SWANA is the haulers association.

Who will lose if we consume less? The haulers and some retailers will lose if we wake up to the fact that consume, recycle, consume, recycle, consume is not sustainable. Some council members seem to think diversion (recycling) is the solution to our habit of over-consuming. It’s not even addressing the problem.

Failing to explain to the “pilot” participants that single stream is about more than just convenient roll out recycling carts, rather it’s about a one compartment truck in which all the varied items are piled atop one another, and thus contaminated and less marketable…is less than forthright.

The single stream pilot included 1-7 plastics, unlike our current program. Each type plastic has a different chemical composition with different health implications and recycling marketability. Has the public been educated or placated? How scientific is the “data” from this single stream pilot project?

NOW is the time to question your mayor and aldermen about their position on single stream. If you don’t speak up you may pay continuously for additional equipment to clean up the single stream mess.

The above letter appeared in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette June 6, 2016