Single-flow recycling (also known as full recycling) refers to a collection system that mixes all the recyclable fibers and paper packaging in a container located on the sidewalk and in the collection truck. Single-stream recycling is a system in which all recyclable materials, including newspapers, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, junk mail, etc. These recyclable materials are collected in a single truck and taken to a material recovery facility (MRF) to be classified into various product streams and sold in markets, where they are processed and converted into raw materials that can be used in the manufacture of new products. Single-stream recycling is a system in which all recyclable materials are mixed together during disposal.
A collection truck collects recyclable materials and takes them to a material recovery facility (MRF) where they are classified. In addition to single-stream recycling, you may also know about dual-stream recycling, which is still popular in several states and cities. For companies, in particular, the periodic and on-demand collection of single-stream recyclable materials, together with detailed diversion statistics, ensure that recyclable materials are delivered to the correct facilities. While collection costs are lower in single-flow systems, the processing costs and costs associated with the disposal of contaminated materials are higher.
Regardless of whether municipalities manage traditional single-stream programs implemented before National Sword, or if they are currently exploring the first versions of single-stream to promote sustainable waste management initiatives, there is advanced technology that can support efficiency. Ultimately, it stopped supporting single-stream recycling programs, increasingly non-selective, that grouped together all types of recyclable materials, without paying much attention to their pollution or value. Nowadays, while dual-stream recycling is generally considered to be more efficient, especially when it comes to reducing pollution levels, single-stream recycling is still being used more widely in the U.S. UU.
In short, since the increase in processing costs and the loss of total revenues far outweigh the savings from collection in most cases (and zero in collection every other week), in general, recycling in a single stream does not show the cost advantage that was originally envisaged. For the most part, this labor-intensive process was replaced by single-stream recycling in the 1990s. The pros and cons of single-stream recycling are relatively clear; however, municipalities that previously introduced single-stream programs when it was possible to export low-quality materials to China are now realizing that they are less practical than before. This is different from single-stream collection programs in much of the rest of the country, which collect all materials, including glass, mixed together.
There is significant evidence that the quality of the resulting waste material (and, therefore, revenues) is lower in the case of single-stream collection than in a dual-flow system or in systems such as containerized tanks, in which materials are kept separate. Single-stream recycling has a variety of advantages, one of the most popular of which is ease and convenience. The single flow also reduces collection costs, since mixed recycled items are thrown into the same compartment in recycling collection trucks.