Hi GRRN, CRRA District 8:
Apparently my home town, the City of Mountain View is considering converting our bi-weekly source separated curbside recycling program to a single stream program under a 10 year "evergreen" contract. The Mayor has asked me for information on this system especially the Cons as the garbage company has not been providing much info on that side.
I understand that single stream is the latest greatest and being hawked as "the most convenient" program for our busy residents but I am concerned about the quality of the end feedstocks, the chances of dropping glass from collection programs, the size of containers *, the potential physical damaged caused to MRF workers due to repetitive motion sorting action, and the loss of a connection by the public to the products they buy and what truly is a real asset to recycling based manufacturing and what is just a so-so product out of what has become some pretty grungy materials. (Pardon my scientific language, I guess I am wondering where the garbage in garbage out graph is going to come out on single stream.)
My early training in commercial recycling in the 80s was that the best way to teach source reduction was to show the employees just how much material they really used by them seeing it in their desktop recycling containers or in their garbage cans. Mixing materials as in single stream, making it "so easy for residents" that they don't have to think disconnects them from understanding how they consume resources. Or at the very least how one packaging material is truly preferable over another.
* Sixty percent of Mtn View residents live in multi-family types housing, many like my own, have very small garages that can't fit event a 32 gallon wheeled cart. Yard waste carts sit in front of the property, against homeowner rules, but can't go anywhere else as they don't fit anywhere. I am concerned that single stream means that residents get big containers that don't fit the new "townhome sized garages"
So if any of you have some studies you can point me to, I would appreciate it.
Mtn. View, CA 94040
*Prevent spinal injuries caused from holding a phone on your shoulder, use a headset!*