One bin to rule them all

And it's also better for the Town of Bethlehem. The town is a part of the Capital Region Solid Waste Planning Unit, which sets goals to divert material out of the waste stream. Hauling bigger percentage of recyclables goes a long way towards meeting that goal.

"We applaud their efforts, as well as County Waste, to offer the single stream recycling process for their customers, because it greatly increases the participation in recycling," said Town Recycling Coordinator Dan Rain. "I've gotten a lot of positive calls from residents about it, about how much they like the convenience of single stream."

Rain said he's been discussing single stream with other waste collectors in town, and also looking into the feasibility of bringing single stream capability to the town's Rupert Road Transfer Station.

Single stream recycling is not a brand-new development, but it's one that's been slow to roll out due to high startup cost. Advancements in the recycling industry have resulted in processes at recycling facilities that use magnets, conveyor belts and vibrating surfaces to mechanically sort recyclables.

Wright sends its recyclables to a Sierra Fibers facility in Albany, or to a facility in Syracuse as a back up. That nearby recycling plant only recently opened up, offering the option of single stream.

Most of the trash collected by Wright makes its way to the City of Albany landfill.

Really the only downside to any hauler switching to single stream also lies in the benefit it offers"since everything is all together, collectors can't sift out the more valuable items (at this time, cardboard and some scrap metals) and try to sell them. But Wright said the change will more than likely be for the best.

"We wanted to make sure we were providing the most modern service out there," he said.""

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