Is single-stream recycling effective?

Bins marked glass, plastic, paper and the like have disappeared from Ohio University and the city of Athens. Instead, bins are now labeled with stickers marked as “mixed recycling.”

All of the dumpsters on campus explain the single-stream system (by Trista Thurston)
All of the dumpsters on campus explain the single-stream system (by Trista Thurston)

 

The city of Athens switched to single-stream recycling July 1, 2015. Prior to that, items had to be sorted into bins for glass, plastic, and paper, metal and cardboard. This process impeded people from recycling.

If materials weren’t sorted before they made it to the Athens-Hocking Recycling Center, workers would need to do so, wasting about 15-20 minutes. In addition, much of the recycling was mixed with trash. Now, thanks to a $2.83 million renovation, Athens County residents no longer need to sort their recyclables before they place them on the curb. The renovation included purchasing land to construct a building to hold the new materials recovery facility that is equipped to process mixed recycling.

The new system is supposed to make it easier for residents to recycle, and therefore easier to process. But has it been effective? When asked if the single stream initiative made it easier to recycle, Athens residents responded “Single stream?” in two separate Twitter polls posted earlier in February. Participants selected this option 63 percent and 56 percent of the time, respectively, in the polls. The other options included “yes,” “no” and “haven’t noticed.”

Two seperate Twitter polls, posted this week, have shown that some haven’t even noticed the switch to single-stream recycling in Athens.

Two seperate Twitter polls, posted this week, have shown that some haven’t even noticed the switch to single-stream recycling in Athens.

Two seperate Twitter polls, posted this week, have shown that some haven’t even noticed the switch to single-stream recycling in Athens.

Two seperate Twitter polls, posted this week, have shown that some haven’t even noticed the switch to single-stream recycling in Athens.

https://storify.com/deartristamaria/recycling-in-athens

An advertisement in an Ohio University residence hall for the single-stream recycling initiative
An advertisement in an Ohio University residence hall for the single-stream recycling initiative (by Trista Thurston)

 

Do you think the new single-stream system has made it easier to recycle in Athens? Or have you just not noticed it? How have your recycling habits changed since the switch? Confused about how it all works? Use the hashtag #ATNUnearthed on Twitter to join the conversation.

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Trista Thurston
Senior journalism student Trista Thurston is currently scrambling to prepare for graduation. When she's not thinking about the future and freaking out, she can be found managing AVW Productions and Tiffin Hall.

Trista Thurston

Senior journalism student Trista Thurston is currently scrambling to prepare for graduation. When she's not thinking about the future and freaking out, she can be found managing AVW Productions and Tiffin Hall.

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