YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – If you recycle, sorting out your recyclables can take some time. But now, with new technology, sorting is a thing of the past.
It is called single-stream recycling, and the process starts at your driveway.
Green Youngstown Coordinator Jennifer Jones said sorting is unneeded because recyclables get mixed into the truck when they are delivered to a waste management facility. Those facilities are often equipped with special magnets for steel and other ways to sort the items.
“In the past, you had to put the papers in a certain area, or take the labels off of the cans or bottles,” she said. “You don’t have to do any of that anymore. The machines do that for you. It’s totally automated.”
She said single-stream recycling is an effective and quicker alternative.
The MRF, or materials recovery facility, is located in Akron and is operated by Waste Management. Republic Services picks up the 18-gallon bins from the curb and takes them to a Waste Management facility on State Route 224 in Poland.
From there, it heads west.
“They sort everything there. From there, it goes to the companies buying it to reuse it,” Jones said.
Kathy Trent, public affairs director for Waste Management, said the items are presorted and items that can’t be recovered and recycled are removed.
She said single-stream recycling increases residents’ cooperation, encouraging recycling by taking the hard part out of it.
“On average, the single-stream recyclables collected allows us to achieve a participation rate of at least 30 percent to 40 percent more,” she said. “So, we’re getting more material.”
Currently, Jones said 18-gallon bins are being used. There is talk of obtaining 96-gallon wheeled bins, but there are some issues, as most trucks are not equipped to pick up the large containers.
“Those 96-gallon bins are too large. They can’t lift them physically,” she said. “Some of the drivers, it would hurt their back. It could cause injury. They can’t lift them and toss them into the back of the truck.”
Worker’s Compensation is also a major concern.
“If you’re paying x amount of dollars to your drivers because they keep getting injured or they need time off of work, in order to recuperate from doing the job, you’re losing money,” Jones said.
Jones said the idea of retrofitting the trucks with the bins is tabled for now. There are plans in the coming year to move ahead with the plan.
“There would be no increase in taxes or extra fees or anything like that,” she said. “It would just be moving money from one area to another to finance that.”
For more information on how you can be a part of the single-stream recycling practice, contact the City of Youngstown. To find out what you can and cannot recycle, visit Recycle Often. Recycle Right’s website.
You can find out more about recycling services in Trumbull and Geauga counties on the Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste Management District’s website.