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When Recycling Becomes a Dirty Business ("single-stream collection not good for recycling")

When Recycling Becomes a Dirty Business ("single-stream collection not good for recycling") | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
Dumping all your bottles, cans, and paper in one recycling bin is convenient, but those materials may end up in a landfill.

Once collected, recyclables are taken to a materials recovery facility (MRF), where they’re sorted either by hand or using expensive, high-tech equipment. From there, the materials go to buyers of scrap glass, paper, metal, and plastic. High-quality glass can be turned into new bottles. High-grade office paper can become new office paper. The higher the quality of the recyclables, the better the process works—and the more cash the recycler gets from the sale.

That’s the problem. Single-source collection usually delivers lower-grade material than recyclables from multiple-bin collection programs. That means the material gets “downcycled” into less valuable products, if it isn’t discarded entirely.  

But when a single-stream truck dumps its load out onto the concrete floor of a transfer station, many of the jars and bottles in the load will break. That makes it next to impossible to sort the glass, and that means the broken glass can only be used for lower-grade products, such as roadbed fill.

The same goes for plastic. And if single-stream cities find that their income from scrap sales is declining, those losses cut into the money saved on collection. In many cases, that lowers single-stream’s net cost savings to between 1 and 2 percent. Meanwhile, somewhere between 15 and 27 percent of all single-stream collected recyclables end up in a landfill. That undoes the benefit of more people recycling.


Via Bert Guevara
The Organic Stream's insight:

It is imperative to keep our streams seperate and clean.


With 15 to 27 percent of all single-stream collected recyclables end up in landfills, there is no argument that would weigh in favour of single-stream collection from an environmental or sustainable point of view.

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Bert Guevara's curator insight, August 31, 2014 11:35 PM

Recycling is after the quality, not the quantity. The fad of single-stream collection is causing a decline in the recycling rate.

"Single-stream hasn’t spread in a vacuum. ... Those mega-MRFs mean dirtier conditions on the sorting line, which means more recyclables end up in landfills."

Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org
The Organic Stream insights on the latest happenings in the recycling sphere
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UCSC plans to build recycling yard to solve compost problem - Santa Cruz Sentinel

UCSC plans to build recycling yard to solve compost problem - Santa Cruz Sentinel | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
Santa Cruz >> This summer, UC Santa Cruz plans to begin building a $5 million recycling yard, which would become Santa Cruz County’s only large-scale composting facility.The 3.7-acre yard, sited for a meadow near the UCSC Farm and...
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Drought: California agriculture can learn from Africa

Drought: California agriculture can learn from Africa | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
Danielle Nierenberg and Daniel Bornstein say conservation is the way to get through the drought, and the state needs to be open to lessons.
The Organic Stream's insight:

"Farmers in Mali, for example, convened a "citizens' jury" with the help of the International Institute for the Environment and Development, and proposed that crop researchers hone in on traditional seed varieties. These crops are typically better at withstanding drought--and can offer more resilience for farmers' livelihoods than so-called high-yielding varieties that often get touted as the solution for African food insecurity."

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The Evolution of EPR for Packaging in the United States | Upstream

The Evolution of EPR for Packaging in the United States | Upstream | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it

"As UPSTREAM fans may know, we’ve been involved in the EPR Packaging debates in the United States for nearly four years now. While there has been significant opposition from many consumer brands during this time, there has been a groundswell of support building from local governments, as well as an openness from some waste and recycling businesses to this policy approach."

The Organic Stream's insight:

An interesting perspective on extended producer responsibility for packaging from the United States:


"In the end, it all comes down to money and control. Most of the stakeholders in the recycling supply chain – local governments, collectors, processors and end-users (including many packaging suppliers) – want the funding from producer fees to optimize recycling systems. However, over the last four years, much of the US discussions and subsequent controversy focused on a 100% producer-financed and controlled recycling system and the massive power-shift inherent in this approach."

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Green horizons: recycling turning new circle in Dubai

Green horizons: recycling turning new circle in Dubai | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
Dubai Municipality to aggressively boost capacity and provide encouragement schemes for recycling
The Organic Stream's insight:

Great information about recycling in Dubai.


"The initiatives are an integral part of the zero-landfill target by the year 2030, which aims to divert virtually all waste from the landfill by then."

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Biogas and Blue Growth Innovation In Skåne - Biogassyd

Biogas and Blue Growth Innovation In Skåne - Biogassyd | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it

The two LIFE-project BUCEFALOS and BIOGASSYS have given us examples of how sea weed, which currently litters our beaches, can be converted into renewable biogas and replace fossil fuels in our cars. We have also seen biogas fuelled tractors, lorries and heat pumps entering the market. This, combined with the establishment of Sweden's largest biogas production facility and a large network, gives us the opportunity to showcase state of the art biogas applications at the final conference.


Via Joan Marc Simon
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Growing recycling programs help us inch closer to Zero Waste

Growing recycling programs help us inch closer to Zero Waste | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
Looking beyond traditional recyclables and the "blue bin", here are some of the organizations and companies seeking to redefine what we consider trash with alternative recycling initiatives and methods of reuse.
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B & R Stores and Prairieland Dairy form compost partnership - Lincoln Journal Star

B & R Stores and Prairieland Dairy form compost partnership - Lincoln Journal Star | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
B & R Stores, the local grocery chain that owns Super Saver and Russ's Market, is partnering with Prairieland Dairy near Firth to turn tons of organic waste into beneficial
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Yacouba Sawadogo - The Man Who Stopped the Desert | Oddity Central - Collecting Oddities

Yacouba Sawadogo - The Man Who Stopped the Desert | Oddity Central - Collecting Oddities | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
Yacouba Sawadogo is an innovative African farmer whose techniques have helped inhabitants of the Sahel fight the expanding desert and improve the quality of the soil
The Organic Stream's insight:

Not a very new story, but a very good story. Yacouba Sawadogo's perseverance and faith in the ancient African farming practices (using compost) shows us that we already have working solutions to the soil crisis and desertification. An inspirational man.

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Even Composting Comes With Sticker Shock - New York Times

Even Composting Comes With Sticker Shock - New York Times | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it

"The most bedeviling problem for the company that turns most of the Puget Sound region’s kitchen waste into compost is on a piece of fruit. Almost every piece of fruit.


It’s that little sticker that tells you whether the fruit, and many kinds of vegetables, are organic, where they came from and which code a supermarket cashier should punch into the cash register."

The Organic Stream's insight:

Fruit stickers are a particular nuisance for composters - and we can see why. They're small and difficult to spot.


Quite interested in Cedar Grove's solution to the problem - encouraging people to collect the stickers for prizes!

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Robin Nagle: What I discovered in New York City trash - YouTube

New York City residents produce 11,000 tons of garbage every day. Every day! This astonishing statistic is just one of the reasons Robin Nagle started a rese...
The Organic Stream's insight:

Thoughtful viewing for a Friday afternoon.

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How 125 million old smartphones are going to waste

How 125 million old smartphones are going to waste | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it

"Your smartphone may be pretty clever, but it seems the processes for collecting old handsets are not: the vast majority are either dumped in landfill or left to gather dust in drawers. Reversing this trend could halve the carbon footprint of mobile devices and drive a second-hand market already worth $3bn a year in the US, a new report from Green Alliance has found."

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Community composting in Hernani, Gipuzkoa: less costs, more recycling, more education


Via Joan Marc Simon
The Organic Stream's insight:

Great video!

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Joan Marc Simon's curator insight, February 27, 4:44 AM

Great video from Hernani in which you can see how cheap, simple solutions save costs and emissions and educate citizens at same time!

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Study: Composting In Minnesota Good For Economy, Environment - CBS Local

Study: Composting In Minnesota Good For Economy, Environment - CBS Local | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
Composting has become more than just a growing trend, it's generating millions of dollars for Minnesota's economy. The Minnesota Composting Council recently did the first-ever statewide study of the Minnesota composting industry.
The Organic Stream's insight:

Great to see studies done to prove the economic benefits of composting: composting industry is worth $148 million and more than 700 jobs in Minnesota.

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And the European waste champion is … Belgium!

And the European waste champion is … Belgium! | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
Belgium managed to be the best performing country in waste management in 2013. Thanks to reducing waste generation and good recycling rates the Belgians managed to send for disposal in landfills and incinerators only 197kg per person. The big ( [...]
The Organic Stream's insight:

Well done Belgium!

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Napa Curbside Composting Program Aims To Keep 8,000 Tons Of Material Out Of Landfills

Napa Curbside Composting Program Aims To Keep 8,000 Tons Of Material Out Of Landfills | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
A curbside composting program in Napa could keep more than 8,000 tons of material out of its landfill each year, city officials said.
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Celebrating #WorldWaterDay

Celebrating #WorldWaterDay | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it

"This World Water Day we honor the projects, people, and programs working tirelessly to achieve more with less water.


Irrigation causes excessive water depletion from aquifers, erosion, and soil degradation, but more sustainable irrigation practices, including center pivot irrigation systems and solar drip irrigation, can help improve crop productivity and yields and reduce water usage. Using rainwater harvesting, zai pits, micro-irrigation, bottle irrigation, gravity drip buckets, rotational grazing systems, and other water-saving practices can all help create diverse landscapes, supporting wildlife and culture."

The Organic Stream's insight:

Water conservation and soil health and intrinsically linked. 2015 has been declared the International Year of Soils, and on World Water Day this year, we should remember that by protected our soils (with practices like incorporating cover crops, planting trees on farms, and intercropping), we can help it to collect and store water.


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Ian McAulay – “Government Departments Are Contradicting Each Other”

Ian McAulay – “Government Departments Are Contradicting Each Other” | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
Viridor’s chief executive, Ian McAulay, has said that in some respects departments in government are contradicting each other, saying the demand for high quality materials but low commodity prices ...
The Organic Stream's insight:

Ian McAulay supporting the idea of including extended producer responsibility as part of the new circular economy package in Europe.


“The current situation is one where predominantly products are put into market and one where consumers pay for product disposal, either directly or through their taxes. This is extremely inefficient and the incentives are all wrong – we are not talking about zero value waste but about negative value waste… Extended producer responsibility will reverse this situation… and it will generate the information, the incentives and the investment required to stop material becoming waste. And I believe that is what a circular economy requires.”

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Waste Management Perspectives for Egypt

Waste Management Perspectives for Egypt | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
Egypt occupies 7th position in the list of countries with the most mismanaged plastic waste, according to a recent report published in Science magazine. The report was based on data collected in 20...
The Organic Stream's insight:

Great article, focusing strongly on the Zabbaleen and their incredible recycling system. 


"Believing the zabbaleen's system to be backwards and unhygienic, in 2003, the government sold contracts to three multinational companies (and one local company) to collect Cairo's waste, pushing the zabbaleen out of the system. "


The result of this action and the backtracking of the government (who now officially employ the Zabbaleen) is a perfect example of how effective localised door-to-door waste collection can be.


If you're interested in learning more, why not listen to our podcast episode with Mal Williams on his trip to visit the Zabbaleen community in Cairo.

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Preventing Waste: recycling isn't enough for a circular economy

Preventing Waste: recycling isn't enough for a circular economy | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it

The many social, environmental and economic benefits that would result from robust resource policies have been recognised by both the European Union and the governments of its member states. For example, by boosting re-use and repair of products, jobs are created while the impacts from mineral and metal extraction, incineration and landfill are avoided. But ambitions for encouraging re-use and repair, and the broader vision of a more resource-efficient and lowerconsuming Europe, appear to be at risk of being abandoned by policy-makers.

This briefing documents a series of community-led projects that are helping Europe to reduce its resource use and waste, and makes policy recommendations that would enable these best-practices to become the norm. The case studies show that it is often local, under-resourced communities, guided by principles of sustainability, that are at the forefront of improving resource use and waste prevention.


Via Joan Marc Simon
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An increase of just one day on product life across a range of foods could prevent 250,000 tonnes of food waste each year, claims WRAP report

An increase of just one day on product life across a range of foods could prevent 250,000 tonnes of food waste each year, claims WRAP report | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
WRAP estimates that an increase of just one day on product life* across a range of foods could prevent around 250,000 tonnes of food waste each year, in households and in the supply chain, by giving consumers longer to eat the food they buy.
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Compost For Soils - Application Guide

The Organic Stream's insight:

Compost for Soils is an excellent (and free!) composting and agriculture resource, featuring easy to digest and comprehensive fact sheets and case studies.


Check out the rest of their composting fact sheets and explore the site.

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(USA) New Hampshire Lawmakers To Chew On Meat, Dairy Composting Proposal

(USA) New Hampshire Lawmakers To Chew On Meat, Dairy Composting Proposal | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it

"Lawmakers today will hear a proposal to allow the commercial composting of meat and dairy. The bill began with a group headed by a former UNH student."

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From trash to cash: Seattle's new composting law is big business for Cedar Grove - Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle)

From trash to cash: Seattle's new composting law is big business for Cedar Grove - Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle) | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
Cedar Grove said it's concerned businesses that aren't used to composting could cause sorting headaches.
The Organic Stream's insight:

As the mandatory composting law takes effect, continued education & awareness campaigns will be essential to keep contamination rates low.

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Zero Waste to Landfill: How Incinerators Get Promoted | Energy Justice Network

Zero Waste to Landfill: How Incinerators Get Promoted | Energy Justice Network | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it

The incinerator industry promotes a false belief that the only choices we have in handling our waste is to either burn it for energy or to bury it in a landfill. The existence of what is known as a "waste-to-energy" (WTE) facility does not eliminate the need for a landfill. First, 10% to 15% of the waste stream cannot be incinerated and secondly, after burning there is a significant amount of ash (10% to 15% by volume, or about 30% by weight) which is still sent to a landfill. 

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Landmark Plastic Bag Ban Officially On Hold

Landmark Plastic Bag Ban Officially On Hold | Recycling News Channel | OrganicStream.org | Scoop.it
The nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags will not go into effect this summer after all. The California secretary of state’s office announced Tuesday that a referendum to overturn the measure has qualified for the Novemb...
The Organic Stream's insight:

 “Every poll shows that Californians strongly support the law, and the $30 million to $50 million it will cost the plastics industry to launch a full-fledged campaign in 2016 will be proven to be an act of political malpractice, particularly since nearly half the state will no longer have plastic bags by election day.”


People are in favour of a ban and are aware of the dangers of plastic for our environment. The plastics industry are swimming against the tide!

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