The Northern California Recycling Association (NCRA) recently submitted draft comments to the California Statewide Commission on Recycling Markets and Curbside Recycling that focused on the merits of dual stream recycling. NCRA’s comments echo its recent recommendations submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in which they advocated for a “stronger, more resilient U.S. recycling system, a critical component in reducing the environmental impacts of materials across their lifecycle.” (See “U.S. National Recycling Goals” available at: https://www.epa.gov/americarecycles/us-national-recycling-goals.)
The Comment points out that the lack of analysis of municipal dual stream recycling is hampering efforts to improve our recycling systems.
NCRA’s attention focused on the Recycling Partnership’s “2020 State of Curbside Recycling Report” (released on February 13, 2020), which assessed curbside recycling in the entire U.S. In its report, the Recycling Partnership analyzed data and other input from over a hundred entities. Within the 74 pages, including 9 pages of Appendix, all discussions and examples are understood to be for single stream recycling. Nothing had been found on cities and municipalities utilizing dual or multi stream recycling. The only mention was in the report’s Glossary of Terms, which noted in its definition of Single Stream that the process “varies from “dual-stream” or “multi-stream” collection, which aggregates fiber, such as newspaper and cardboard, and bottles, cans, and other containers in two or more receptacles”.
NCRA’s Comment mentions several places that have undertaken conversions to dual stream recycling, including Lake Worth, Florida, which was among the first U.S. communities to announce a transition back to dual stream curbside recycling. Brookhaven, New York, soon followed. Other examples have been reported in Missouri and New Jersey. Wentzville, Missouri first launched dual-stream collection in December 2018.Since then, residents have followed the new guidelines for the rigids only carts extremely well, resulting in a 100 percent clean rate curbside.
Montville, New Jersey reverted back to dual stream because the local recycling company’s China-based buyers did not want what they termed contaminated recycling, such as paper with liquid on it, and were charging the company a premium as a result.
NCRA’s full comments can be found here