Single-Stream Recycling: Curbside & Dumpsters
The City of Concord offers the convenience of single-stream recycling. All acceptable recyclable items can be placed together into the same container; recyclables do not have to be sorted in separate bins. Recyclables should not be placed inside of plastic bags, and plastic bags should not be placed in with recyclable materials. Recycling materials should be placed freely together in a recycling bin. Plastic bags need to be kept out of the recycling stream and instead should be recycled at an accepting local retailer. Make sure items are emptied and clean, and boxes are broken down.
Residential curbside recycling collection is for properties with seven units or less. Household recyclables are collected once each week by the City’s contractor on a scheduled collection day. Recycling must be placed curbside by 7:00 am on the scheduled day of pick-up and must be placed in the City recycle bin provided by Concord General Services, or in a rigid container/barrel labeled for recycling. Recycling sticker labels are available at Concord General Services if needed. Residents are advised to place their trash bag(s) on top of their open/lidless recycling bin to weigh down recycling and minimize wind-blow litter.
Residential recycling dumpsters are for multi-unit properties with eight or more units. Recycling containers are placed near complexes for residents to recycle household items. Containers are emptied by the contractor each week on the scheduled collection day. Recycling does not have to be sorted and are all placed into the single stream container. Please do not contain recyclables in plastic bags, but rather empty recyclables freely inside the dumpster. Make sure the area in front of the dumpster is kept clean and free from snow or ice in the winter to allow for safe pick up. Residents should notify their property manager if a container is missed for pick-up.
The Truth About Recycling
China was once the world’s largest importer of plastic waste until they banned the import of plastics in 2017. The global recycling market has undergone significant changes over the past few years, which has led many communities to change their recycling programs or manage increased costs. Increased awareness of this issue has led many to become discouraged about recycling and believe that the industry is no longer effective. The City of Concord’s contractor, Casella, is committed to investing in processing and finding new markets for recyclables. Despite the myths, recycling still works. All non-contaminated recyclables Casella receives are processed and sold to end markets to be made into new products or put to beneficial use. Single-stream recycling remains the most effective method for collecting the most amount of recyclables since it is the most convenient option. Due to the declining value of some commodities, it is important for consumers to be educated about ways to recycle better and keep the recycling streams cleaner and more valuable. Learn more about acceptable recycling materials below.
Learn the truth about recycling: The Truth About Recycling Flyer.
Listen to a Talk Concord podcast from September 2019 to hear a discussion about current recycling issues and the changing market: http://bit.ly/recyclingpodcast.
Acceptable Recycling Materials
Only acceptable recycling materials will be collected. Proactively check recyclables and remove non-recyclable items, such as plastic bags, to avoid contaminating loads. Do not use plastic bags to hold recyclables. Recycling materials should be placed freely in a rigid bin. Acceptable recycling items include paper, metal, glass, cardboard, and plastic. Unacceptable items for recycling include plastic bags, Styrofoam, mirrors, batteries, light bulbs, bubble wrap, food scraps, and other items as listed in our detailed list of acceptable trash and recycling materials.
Prevent Recycling Contamination
Recycling contamination is a central focus right now in the recycling industry. Current market conditions have increased the demand for improved material quality to reduce the level of contamination. The leading source of recycling contamination is plastic film, which includes items such as grocery bags, plastic wrap, bubble wrap, bread bags, etc. Single-stream recycling programs are not capable of effectively processing plastic film. Although plastic bags can be recycled, they require a designated collection system and specific processing equipment, and therefore cannot be included in a single-stream recycling program. Plastic bags need to be kept out of the recycling stream and instead should be recycled at accepting local retailers. Plastic bags should not be placed in with recyclable materials, and recyclables should not be placed inside of plastic bags. Cities that offer convenient single-stream recycling, like Concord, are facing challenges to improve recycling materials to work with the current market.
Single-stream recycling in Concord has made recycling quick and easy for residents without the need to sort materials. Instead, the City’s solid waste contractor, Casella Waste Systems, sorts materials at their facilities to then be marketed and sold for manufacturing into new products. However, these facilities face serious challenges with contaminants, such as plastic film, clogging equipment and slowing down processing. Often times the plastic film can also get mixed in and contaminate other materials. Due to this increased contamination at sorting facilities, a lower tolerance for contaminants has been established in the industry as a whole. This is causing a decline in the recycling market because buyers only want to purchase the highest quality of raw materials, making it difficult to market. Any recycling bins that contain unacceptable items, such as plastic bags, will be rejected at the curb and will be marked with a non-compliance sticker alerting the resident of unacceptable items. Compliance to avoid contamination is necessary to maintain sustainable recycling markets and cooperation is appreciated.
Together we can ensure the sustainability of recycling by learning how to recycle better. Learn more at casella.com/recyclebetter.