Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I start a recycling program in my workplace?

A: The first step to setting up an effective recycling program is to survey your workplace, and figure out exactly what's going into the trash. Then, you can figure out which products are recyclable and which ones you want to include in your workplace recycling initiative.

The easiest way to do this is by reaching out to whomever collects your recycling, whether it's your municipal waste management program or your building management, and asking them exactly what they recycle and what they don't. If you are in an area that is serviced by ReCommunity, you can recycle many different materials, but be sure to find out from your local resource what you can and can't recycle in your area. 

Many businesses are located in municipalities with recycling services, or are located in office complexes where the management is responsible for waste disposal. Contact whomever takes care of your waste to arrange for proper disposal and pickup of whatever materials you recycle, too. It's essential to reach out to your building management or your landlord to notify them of your recycling initiative, so they can make sure janitorial staff are on the same page. Your office complex might even already have a recycling program in place, making it easy to take advantage of what's already available.

Paper products are a typical place to start. In U.S. workplaces, approximately one to two pounds of paper product waste is generated on average, each day. Beverage containers are also important; most workers go through as many as 3 a day!

The key to program acceptance and participation is to make it as simple as possible for employees to recycle. Whether each employee has a recycling bin at their desk (and closer than the trash can) or strategically placing recycling bins near common areas where waste occurs, such as near printers, copiers or in the break room, you should start seeing some participation immediately. Be sure to post a guideline showing acceptable materials over each bin, to let employees know what can and cannot be recycled. Most municipalities have downloadable flyers or posters that show a diagram of acceptable materials. 

Most of the areas ReCommunity services are single stream, meaning that all recyclables go into one bin and are sorted at our facility. Unfortunately, This is not the case everywhere, so be sure to check with your landlord or local municipality, as you may need separate bins for paper, plastic, glass and metal.

To sum it up, convenience, education and organization will make for a successful recycling effort. 

Q: What is dual-stream recycling?

A. Typically, cans and bottles are placed in a one bin (or ‘stream’) while paper products are collected into a second bin. They are then handled separately throughout the collection process. In a dual stream system, both the collection and processing systems can to handle a fully commingled mix of recyclables.

Q: What is single-stream recycling?

A. Less complicated than you think. Unlike previous (dual-stream) recycling methods, where separating individual materials was required, single-stream technology does not require home owners, businesses and schools to separate individual recyclables (paper, glass, aluminum and plastics) from another into separate bins. Now all recyclables can be placed in single, larger rolling bins. This reduces everyone’s time, increases recycling and community participation.
Many bins are now one. It’s like magic.

Q: What are the benefits of single-stream recycling?

A. Using just one collection bin increases the ease and convenience of recycling, which increases overall participation. It also offers more efficient collections and saves on cost, pollution and time.

Q: So what should I do? Single or dual?

A. It’s always good for recycling when valuable materials are properly sorted right away and sorting is still critical in that you make absolutely sure you’re recycling only the items accepted. It’s also good to get more people to recycle and use fewer resources to do it. Single-stream is so easy, that everyone can get on board. Basically, if dual-stream recycling fits your community, then keep doing it. But if you’re looking for a way to build more support for recycling in your area, single-stream might just be the way.

Q: But I don’t mind sorting my materials. Isn’t it better for recycling if we separate them like we’ve been doing?

A. We hear you. We’ve been addicted to sorting, too. But even long-term recyclers became hooked on the new single-stream system once they tried it. It is always good for recycling when the materials are properly sorted at “the source,” a.k.a. your home, school or office. And, sorting is still critical in that you make absolutely sure you’re recycling only the items accepted. It is also good for recycling if ever-increasing amounts of material are kept out of the landfill and sold in
good clean condition to the remanufacturing companies that make new products from recycled material. Single-stream helps to increase this volume of materials.

Q: What materials can be recycled?

A. In each community it varies slightly, but ReCommunity accepts most paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and containers, glass and cans. Click here to see a full list of acceptable materials. It is also important to know what NOT to put in your recycling bin. Take a look at “Recycling’s Dirty Dozen”.

Q: How are the materials separated?

A. ReCommunity sorting and equipment and sensor technology automatically sorts the comingled materials. The equipment has screens to separate “flats” (paper) from “rounds” (containers). For this reason, we ask that you do not flatten containers or the screen will sort them into the wrong bin.

Q: Doesn’t single stream lower the value of the materials, and won’t there be a lot of contamination?

A. Not necessarily. One of the concerns associated with single-stream recycling is that one bin tends to encourage people to suddenly put EVERYTHING that seems recyclable in it. That’s why we need YOU to help demonstrate that a community full of educated, conscientious recyclers can make single-stream recycling a success. Download the latest guidelines and check out our list of worst contaminants to help us keep these problem items out.

Q: Are other communities using single-stream recycling?

A. Yes. Other communities that divert 50, 60 even 70 percent of their waste from the landfill have achieved these goals in part by switching to single-stream. Some of the communities currently using single-stream include: (List of ReCommunities)

Q: Won’t the paper get wet if I recycle my commingled containers with the paper? Doesn’t that make the paper non-recyclable?

A. The paper mills allow up to 5 percent moisture in the paper they buy from ReCommunity, so it’s not a problem. As always, we do ask that you empty and rinse all your containers to keep food contamination out of your bin. But moisture will not ruin the paper. Part of the recycling process for remanufacturing paper includes water, so it is not a contaminant.

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