Single-stream recycling collection, also known as commingled recycling collection, is a system where all recyclable materials are collected in one location and are not separated based on their materials. The collected material is usually then taken to a Municipal Recycling Facility (MRF) where the recyclables are separated and processed before being sold to manufacturers who will use the materials to make new products.
The advantage of this system is that it spares people from having to separate their recyclables and is more cost effective; however, this also poses a problem when the recyclables are brought for processing. The materials brought through the system run the risk of contamination, which means that there is a chance that not all of the recyclables brought to the MRF avoid the landfill.
Lacapra, Veronique. “With ‘Single-Stream” Recycling, Convenience comes at a Cost.” http://www.npr.org/2015/03/31/396319000/with-single-stream-recycling-convenience-comes-at-a-cost. March 31, 2015. Accessed May 4, 2016