Single Stream recycling is a relatively new term by most standards. It didn't exist as even a concept just a decade or so ago.
Single Stream recycling, also called "fully-comingled" or "single-sort", refers to a process where customers are able to place all of their clean, unsorted, unbagged recycling into the same container loose.
With Borden Waste-Away Service, Inc., the recycling carts are then picked up by a truck separate from trash and taken to their state-of-the-art recycling facility located in Elkhart, Indiana.
Prior to Single Stream recycling, the "sorted past" of recycling required participants to sort all recyclable commodities into different bins that were then picked up by a single truck containing separate compartments. Plastics were placed into 1 compartment, aluminum into another, and glass into yet another. These commodities were kept separate all the way through the collection and baling process.
Although keeping commodities separated would seem like an efficient way to process recyclables, it proved to be very time consuming and more difficult in their initial storage.
With the introduction of Single Stream recycling, Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) such as Recycling Works in Elkhart, Indiana, are able to streamline their processes and storage needs. This makes for a far more efficient recycling system which then, in turn, helps these facilities handle a higher volume of recyclable materials.
Single Stream recycling has also changed the participation rate of individuals as well as businesses. The more convenient recycling is, the higher number of people participate making the volume of materials collected at an all-time high.