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RE: [greenyes] Single Stream
Peter & Brenda,

I'll add - that in when we did our pilot in Saint Paul, WMI told us that
due to the urban street issues, i.e., parked cars, it would be
impossible to fully automate and improbable that they could even

Susan Hubbard
Eureka Recycling
624 Selby Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55104
651.221.9831 (fax)

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Anderson [mailto:anderson@no.address] 
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2003 11:34 AM
To: GreenYes
Subject: [greenyes] Single Stream

Yesterday, Brenda asked whether "anyone know[s] of successful single
recycling programs? The DC DPW will be piloting a single stream
system on one of its
routes.  Some benefits of the collection system will be that the
semi-automated collection will reduce worker back injury and strain and
make the collection program more efficient.  The drawbacks may be
increased contamination of recyclables and a larger reject rate at the

The issues surrounding single stream collection are complex. The fact
its proponents often use grossly overstated claims only serves to
rational consideration.

Two such claims relate to collection automation and participation,
that truck automation is tied to single stream and that participation
improves with single stream.

In fact, both semi-automated and fully-automated collection vehicles can
used with or without single stream.  The level of possible automation
depends only on the type of receptacle used by households to set out
recyclables and whether it can be lifted by the flippers or other
mechanism on the truck.  Similarly, as described in the careful analysis
Eureka Recycling that Tim steered folks to in response to Brenda's note,
is the selection of a cart (as opposed to bins) that is responsible for
improved participation, not single stream, in that they found the
improvement with a cart in two-stream collection as well.  Before anyone
runs out and buys carts for their town, be aware that they are very

The defining element in single stream is who will run the program.  This
because there are substantial additional processing costs entailed with
single stream in the form of a whole new front end separation module to
the fibers from the containers previously done by households before the
material reaches the MRF -- costs that substantially subtract from the
tangible gains in collection savings.

Operators less committed to recycling than we might prefer will be under
substantial pressure to ramp up through-puts in order to drive down
costs to justify the new single stream program.  Doing that, of course
force up residue rates to the high 20's and indeed into the 30 percent
range, as we have already seen.  When this fact becomes well known, we
expect our good friends like John Tierney to write scathing exposes that
recycling is a big joke, that will again undercut our critical
with the public.  We can also expect to see the national waste companies
their putitively lower sort costs to force bona fide MRFs out of
in a variation of Greshanm's law in which bad money forces good money
out of
circulation.  This is already going on, as an example, in New York
The implications for us are enormous.


Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
Ph:    (608) 231-1100
Fax:   (608) 233-0011
Cell    (608) 438-9062
email: anderson@no.address

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