Study: Single-stream is more wasteful, expensive

Sorted recycling systems win out over single-stream recycling in a head-to-head competition when the municipal playing fields are even, according to a research report that tracked outcomes in United Kingdom markets over a four-year period.

The study, which was published by 4R Environmental on March 28, provides an analysis of 65 bids between 2008 and 2012. It revealed that 51% of all recycling collection services resulted in curbside sorting, even though that system was only allowed in 45 of the 65 municipalities tracked. Overall, 28% were awarded to single-stream commingling and 21% resulted in dual-stream systems.

In 29 cases, there was a genuine competition between systems, said Andy Bond, director of 4R Environmental Ltd. and the reportĀ“s author. In those cases, 59% of the municipalities selected curb-sort, 31% selected dual stream, and 10% selected single-stream.

Chrissy Kadleck
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