Single stream recycling refers to a system in which all recyclables are mixed together in a collection truck, instead of being sorted by material type (i.e. newspaper, plastic, glass, aluminum, etc.) by the resident.
Instead, the mixed or “commingled” recyclables are sorted at a processing center using technologies both old (magnets, screens, conveyor belts) and new (air jets, infrared readers). The individual commodities are then baled or bundled and sold to manufacturers, who reprocess or refine the materials and to make “new” products.
There are several advantages to a single stream recycling system, including: