About Single Stream

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What is Single Stream Recycling?

Single Stream Recycling refers to a system in which all paper fibers, plastics, metals, and other containers are mixed in a collection truck, instead of being sorted by the depositor into separate commodities (newspaper, paperboard, corrugated fiberboard, plastic, glass, etc.) and handled separately throughout the collection process. In single-stream, both the collection and processing systems are designed to handle this fully commingled mixture of recyclables, with materials being separated for reuse at a materials recovery facility (MRF).

Single-stream recycling programs were first developed in several California communities in the 1990s. Subsequently many large and small municipalities across the United States began single-stream programs. As of 2012 there are 248 MRFs
operating in the U.S. 

Single Stream PDF

Single Stream Recycling at GFL (Previously American Waste), Traverse City, MI.

As seen in the photos above, the GFL (Previously American Waste) facility in Traverse City, where all Charlevoix County recyclables are transferred, use a state of the art conveyor belt with specialized magnets and air pressure system to separate aluminum and plastics from papers and cardboards.  Employees are part of the assembly line process to further separate any materials that occasionally slip by the mechanized system.