Nearly 50 years after the first Earth Day in 1970, saving the planet is easier than ever. Something called single-stream recycling helps.
Residents in several Greater Pittston communities take advantage of single-stream recycling to keep recyclable items out of the landfill.
“With single-stream, you essentially collect in a mass all that are redeemable, recyclable items,” explained Pittston Mayor Mike Lombardo. “You no longer do the separation. There’s efficiency now. You’re not separating glass, cans, metal and paper. It’s all just there.”
Single-stream recycling is achievable by using an automated separation system. The recyclables travel through a long conveyer belt that separates materials by using blowers, screens, magnets and manual separation, according to Exeter’s Borough website.
Instead of separating recyclables themselves, homeowners in the area can toss more of their waste into one bin, essentially saving them a lot of time.
Some materials, however, are still not viable to enter the single-stream recycling.
Exeter, which began using single-stream recycling late last year, has produced a flyer with a list of acceptable and non-redeemable items. Some items listed as recyclable are glass, plastic, metal bottles cans or jars, newspaper and junk mail, all which can be tossed into one bin and put curbside for collection. Shredded paper, which had been accepted under the previous recycling system, is no longer acceptable, but hardback books are now acceptable under the new system.
Exeter officials said they made the change because it was more convenient for citizens to switch over to single-stream recycling.
With the new recycling system, Exeter hopes to eliminate 50 percent of its waste stream by 2020, according to the borough’s website.
The single-stream recycling system has been adapted by many local communities to make recycling more efficient for citizens and businesses. Many community leaders hope as easier system will encourage more people to participate in recycling, remove more garbage from waste streams and reduce littering.
Stan Rovinski, chairman of the Jenkins Twp. Board of Supervisors, said a big benefit is “seeing less stuff on the side of the road.”
“People have a tendency to throw stuff out their car window or dump it somewhere,” he noted.
The hope is that by making recycling easier, more people will use the service to cut down on littering and on waste removal costs. Focusing more on recycling can help communities financially.
“If we’re putting all of our recycling into a landfill, we would pay around $54-$55 a ton to get rid of it,” explained Carolyn Santee, borough manager of West Wyoming.“If we’re bringing it down to the recycle center, we actually get money and grants with our recycling.”
West Wyoming began single-stream curbside recycling collection in February.
While single-stream recycling expanded the types of recyclables collected in many area communities, there are still specific requirements for collection. For a full list of what is recyclable in your community, and for collection schedules, visit your town’s website.