Dual stream versus single stream recycling

Single stream is a method of recycling where all recyclable materials are disposed of together in the same recycling bin. The materials are then separated at the recycling facility. Supporters say it increases participation in recycling by the public, given that households do not have to do any separation on their end, but detractors say it leads to more contamination—causing some recyclables to end up in landfills. Finally, putting the onus on the recycling facilities to sort the waste means the whole process is more expensive for the municipality. Dual stream is a method of recycling where materials are separated at the consumer level Containers, made of glass, plastic and cans, are kept separate from cardboard and papers at the household level. This method of recycling, if properly implemented, leads to lower levels of contamination, higher quality recovered material and lower costs to process the collected recyclables. However, this onus on the consumer means that poor recycling education leads to people cross-contaminating in their own recycling bins and putting in a lot of non-recyclable plastic in a phenomenon called aspirational recycling”, whereby consumers put an item in a recycling bin hoping that it will be recycled when it is not currently recycled, thereby contaminating the recycling.