Municipal Household Recycling Programs
Recycling materials from residential households presents a unique set of economic, political and educational challenges. Anyone may access current markets for recovered materials by using the Recycling Marketplace platform and may track market price trends.
Understanding different program approaches such as source separation or single stream collection systems will help to appreciate the differing dynamics and operational results.


Recycling Depot
Public Drop-Off Depots have been a traditional method for the collection of source separated recyclable materials. Success of both maned and un-maned drop-off recycling programs hinge on public education, accessibility and convenience that reinforce the voluntary support by individuals in the community.

Source Separation
Source Separation is a simple straight forward strategy to segregate materials at the source, stored in separate containers for collection which maintains quality of the recycled materials. One of the hidden benefits of a Source Separation program is that the householders achieve a high level of subliminal positive reinforcement and recycling awareness each time they deposit material in a collection container.

Curbside Collection
The original blue box curbside collection recycling program was based on a theory of collecting source separated recyclable materials in specially designed vehicles with separate chambers for each grouping of materials. Limitations of this system where mainly focused on the speed of collection and the number of household stops a truck & driver could service in a day. To reduce the cost of collection by reducing the number of trucks and drivers to service a population, a single stream strategy was widely adopted by most contractors and over time the Source Separation strategy was pretty much abandoned.


Single Stream Collection
For expediency, at the point of collection, materials where co-mingled or mixed together in a single chamber collection vehicle with the intent that separation of the mixed recyclable materials would occur back at a central facility.
So the result of the decision to adopt single stream collection, the householders mixed their recyclables into their collection bin, the collection trucks mix the material further as they dump the collection bins into their trucks. The material is remixed again when the collection truck dumps back at the central Material Recovery Facility.

Material Recovery Facilities MRF
Central Separation of co-mingled or single stream recyclable materials can be preformed at a material recovery facility MRF with a combination of manual and mechanical sorting methods.

Sorting of Newsprint and Glass, magnetic seperation of Steel food cans and eddy current seperation for Aluminum Cans, you are then left with Mixed Rigid Plastics. Many MRF oppertatiopns further sort their plastics by manually picking out the bulk of the PET bottles and HDPE containers, They are than left with a residual balance of mixed plastics.

Most MRF's achieve some level of operation efficencey but in general never seem to master the marketing of secondary commodities. Major issues that can emerge from MRF's are the cost of sorting, capacity of processing and quality contamination. The combination of high levels of contamination and a poor secondary commodity marketing strategy can result in a catastrfic failure and inhibits the ability to recycle the collected materials and the results in the need to dispose of volumes of materials.

Municipal Recycling Challanges
Municipal Recycling Orginizers and Material Recovery Facility (MRF) managers are at a distinct disadvantage to pricate sector recyclers since they are not activly participating on a daily basis in buying and selling secondary commodities. MRF's are collectors of a continuios supply of incomming materials that they are required to process and liquidate on a reguler production schedule to avoid bing burried irrigardless of market conditions.

When adverce events occore in the market most MRF manergers lack the flexability, authority or experience it involke quick and sometimes radical contingenties. Typicly municipalities make arrangements with a single contactor to buy their output instead of participating in a marketplace that connects them directly to buyers worldwide.

Recycling Marketplace
Marketing materials collected from municipal recycling programs is as simple as participating in the online Recycling Marketplace.
If you wish to buy or sell recyclable materials please check-out the extensive list of materials and add your own inquiry to connect with waiting buyers & sellers.
GRN.com is a neutral platform that allows buyers and sellers to connect.

Market Price Trends
The Curbside Recycling Composite Index tracks market price trends for a basket of materials from municipal curbside recycling programs. The Index takes a daily snapshot of spot market prices and allows you to freely take a quick view of the past 7, 30, 90 days and 1 & 2 year trends.
If you require a more granular view of the spot market prices, subscriptions are available. Recycling Price Trends

Market Price Trends

Recycling Company Directory
There are a multitude of companies actively involved in the recycling industry buying and selling recyclable materials each and every day, you may use the Recycling Company Directory to browse a list of North American companies.
If you are involved in the recycling business, please feel free to include your company in the Recycling Company Directory

Recycling Equipment
If you wish to buy Recycling Equipment feel free to browse the equipment directory or if you wish to buy or sell used equipment ADD your inquiry to the used recycling equipment exchange.

Recycling Discussion Group
Recent media trends seem to be portraying the perception that many materials like plastics are not recyclable, Please feel free to add you comments or ask your recycling questions to The 4R's Forum, an open recycling discussion group established to exchange thoughts and ideas related to Waste Recycling and Materials Recovery

4R's Forum

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