Why Should You Care About Recycling?

Businesses across the US are responsible for a large portion of the overall waste stream, yet not every business takes advantage of recycling. There is a lot at stake when recycling isn’t done right. It adversely affects the environment, the economy and the community in which you do business. According to National Geographic, it costs 40% more to send trash to the landfill, rather than recycle it, and up to 60% more to incinerate it.

Managing and handling waste is expensive. When recycling is done right, the government, taxpayers, and business owners save money. By reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill, you reduce your disposal costs and the negative impact it has on the environment. By demonstrating environmental responsibility through recycling efforts, you show the community in which you do business that you care. You could even attract new customers, enhance your chances of winning contracts, and improve customer loyalty. Unless everyone starts caring, recycling doesn’t stand a chance. When program participants work hard to keep trash out of containers marked for recycling, only then will recycling be successful.

Single Stream Recycling Doesn’t Work

Single stream recycling or “commingling” of one or more recyclable materials in the same container, and then sending it off for sorting, is not a good practice. For over 15 years, national haulers encouraged “single stream” recycling — even though much of it went to the landfill due to contamination. The concept of “single stream” has been a contradiction for a very long time.

Rhode Island was the first state to institute mandatory recycling. Haulers quickly introduced the concept of one container for all recycling. Then they took it to the next level on a national basis. Businesses liked it because they didn’t need two waste systems, and many did not have room for a second waste system. Today, buildings are still being designed and built with only one waste system for trash, which is often undersized and overpriced.

Single-stream recycling is still being offered today, but the discounts are gone. Single-stream recycling costs as much, if not more, than traditional trash hauling, because the material being collected has no overseas market for resale as a recyclable material. Once the processor’s warehouse is full, there is no more room to process and store waste.

Post-consumer, dirty, single-stream waste with one or more recyclable materials mixed together are sent to the landfill. Paper and plastic processors need clean single-item secondary materials in pristine condition to justify adding any of them to 90% virgin material. Most recycled products use less than 10% secondary materials so as not to degrade their new products.

The entire recycling model of off-site sorting of mixed recyclables at regional material recovery facilities was never sustainable. Combining and commingling aluminum, tin, steel, paper fiber, and plastic bottles goes against every established recycling industry association specification for a homogenous batch of material. Only material that is comprised of the same stock and makeup can be sold to processors and manufacturers.

Two Compactors, Two Colors

Developers and architects need to plan for two containers — one for trash and one for paper fibers. Paper fiber in the form of brown corrugated and grey cardboard represents 25 to 30 percent of the waste stream— and at a minimum—needs to be recovered. Ninety Gallon Totes® can be used to handle office paper and commingled bottles and cans.

National haulers use the same color for all of their machines. One hauler may use all blue machines and another all green machines. TOG uses different colors to specify which container to use. Red containers are used for recycling and blue containers are used for trash. All of our enclosures and loading docks are designed to support two distinct waste systems whether they are small dumpsters or compactors.

Find out how a TOG Advisor can help you reduce disposal costs with recycling done right!

Please email or call 888-876-2557 to speak to a TOG Advisor.