Single-Stream Corrugated Recycling
Single-stream corrugated recycling refers to the practice of including corrugated cardboard in a single-stream recycling system. Corrugated cardboard is widely utilized for packaging and shipping, and its recycling contributes to curbing the demand for fresh cardboard production and its associated environmental repercussions.
Here’s how single-stream corrugated recycling typically works:
- Collection: Residents or businesses place their recyclables, including corrugated cardboard boxes, into a designated recycling bin or container.
- Collection Truck: Recycling collection trucks pick up the mixed recyclables from curbside or designated collection points.
- Materials Recovery Facility (MRF): At the MRF, the collected materials are sorted using various techniques, such as conveyor belts, screens, optical sensors, and human workers. These sorting methods separate different types of recyclables, including corrugated cardboard, from the mixed stream.
- Baling and Processing: Once sorted, corrugated cardboard is baled together with other cardboard materials. It’s then processed further to remove contaminants like tape, labels, and other non-cardboard elements.
- Recycling: The processed corrugated cardboard is sent to paper mills, where it’s pulped and turned into new paper products, including new cardboard boxes.
Single-stream corrugated recycling offers the convenience of placing all recyclable materials in a single container, which can encourage higher participation rates in recycling programs. However, there can be challenges with contamination and maintaining the quality of the recovered cardboard due to the mixing of materials. It’s important for both individuals and recycling facilities to manage contamination and ensure that the collected cardboard is of sufficient quality for recycling.
Properly recycling corrugated cardboard and other materials helps conserve natural resources, reduce energy consumption, and minimize waste going to landfills.