Over the past decade, hundreds of communities throughout North America have shifted their municipal recycling collection program from a dualor multi-stream approach to one that commingles recyclables into one container, due mainly to the convenience factor for residents and costs savings for the local government. However, though municipalities may be switching collection schemes in droves, the success of these programs has been mixed (no pun intended).
For example, volumes may rise with the switch in collection approaches, but many key issues have also been noted from the use of a single-stream collection service, including end-market concerns over product quality – particularly from the fiber end-markets – increased quantities of residues being managed by material recovery facilities (MRFs), and labor and overall processing costs in excess of expectations. So, in 2008, the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) commissioned Ontario, Canada-based CM Consulting to embark on a research project to examine the economic and environmental impacts of single-stream collection systems.
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