Nebraska’s Largest Recycler Ends Commercial Single Stream Processing Due to Contamination, Costs

Nebraska’s Largest Recycler Ends Commercial Single Stream Processing Due to Contamination, Costs

The First Star Recycling Company in Nebraska has halted single stream from commercial participants as of June 1st, 2018. The pressure causing them to end this practice stemmed from new international recycling specifications.

The company has reported contamination rates of 40 percent and their resulting labor costs have become too great.

“It just seems foolish to continue to put that much labor into something that the value of all of it has gone down,” stated company CEO Dale Gubbels. “We can actually work with the generators and the haulers to be able to rebate them for that cardboard.” The company continues to process residential single stream materials.

Waste Dive reporter Cole Rosengren commented, “China’s market disruption has forced the entire recycling industry to take a fresh look at materials management policies. While many are clamping down on contamination — and some have been forced to dispose of material — far fewer have switched collection methods yet. Nebraska’s open-ended state recycling policy made it possible for First Star to take a step that would be a lot more complicated elsewhere, but could be coming in the future.”

Click here to read the full article in Waste Dive, “Why Nebraska’s biggest MRF is done with commercial single-stream.”

Photo Credit: By Raymond Bucko, SJ (Flickr: downtown_in_spring) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons.

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Neil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D, directs the Recycling and Economic Growth Initiative. He specializes in helping cities and businesses recover increasing amounts of materials from the waste stream and add value to the local economy through new processing and manufacturing facilities. He is a co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and is a member of ILSR's Board of Directors.