Resource Recycling reported in July on municipal programs in the U.S. and Canada that have reinstated dual-stream in the past few months or are planning to do so. Some of the program officials pointed to dual-stream collection as a solution to market woes brought on by the disappearance of Chinese companies as downstream buyers. Northumberland County, Ontario (population 85,000); Cumberland County, Nova Scotia (population 30,000); and Windsor, Sonoma County, Calif. (population 27,000) have recently adopted dual-stream after canceling single-stream programs.
As a result of China’s import restrictions, “domestic markets are becoming saturated and that is driving down the price of recyclable materials,” officials in Northumberland County wrote in a report to the county council. The potential savings as a result of the decision to switch systems are dramatic; currently, the county spends about $2.43 million Canadian dollars ($1.85 million USD) per year on waste and recycling collection. Under the new system, the county anticipates recyclables collection costs will increase by $500,000 CAD. But the county will realize an estimated $500,000 CAD savings in lower processing costs and higher recyclables revenue, as well as $350,000 CAD in additional cost avoidance through landfill capacity savings because less material will be disposed, according to the estimate.
“In order to be able to achieve the higher quality standards for baled recyclables that will likely become the normal in the very near future, we will need to be proactive in ensuring that our recycling stream (from road-side set-out to our finished bales) is as clean as possible,” county staff wrote.
The dual-stream switch, alone, would have a net savings effect. But the county is also adding an organics collection service that will increase costs by $1.25 million CAD per year.