Green Term Defined: Single-stream recycling
Single-stream recycling is a process or system where all paper, plastics, metals, cardboard, glass, and trash goes into the same can and is sorted by the facility into separate commodities. In other words, it takes all the reasons for not recycling everything that is recyclable out of the equation.
Single-stream puts all the work for the recycling process to the facility operator and not the household. This raises the recycling rate per household. The systems were first used in the 1990s in California and now have facilities across the country.
Material recovery facilities (MRFs) continue to evolve and get better efficiency as technology improves. They are not completely automated, but it is getting closer.