By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI.org News staff
Sarah Kite, director of recycling services for RIRRC, said the system’s new name will be revealed during a media blitz. The public information campaign about the changes in store for residents and business, she said, are critical for the new program to succeed.
"We feel we have one shot with it," Kite said.
RIRRC is avoiding the term single-stream recycling out of concern that it might mislead the public into combining trash with recycling. Instead the new system allows for the mingling of all recycable items: paper, cardboard, plastic and glass.
Every community and business will have to determine if the mingling occurs in a single bin or the current two bins required for the dual-stream collection.
Either way, single-stream recycling aims to increase the volume of recyclables heading to the sorting plant and out of the landfill. The premise suggests more people will recycle if recyclables no longer have to be sorted. The near-term goal is to increase collected recyclables by 70,000 tons a year. In 2011, RIRRC collected 92,500 tons.
More items also will qualify as recyclable under the single-stream method. In addition to paper, cardboard, cans and plastic bottles, the new program will accept plastic cups, lids and containers. Plastic flower pots less than 2 gallons also will be accepted beginning June 7.
RIRRC continues to discourage the public from relying on the Nos. 1-7 recycling symbols for determining recyclable plastics. Instead, it wants the mindset to focus on shapes.
Glass bottles and jars also will be accepted, but they are not recycled. Collected glass is crushed and used as a daily cover for the landfill.
Scrap metal such as pots and pans, coat hangers, pipes and bottle caps will no longer be accepted beginning in June. Small metal lids will be accepted. Kite is encouraging cities and town to increase drop-off access for outcast metal items and small metal appliances.
Also not accepted: Styrofoam, plastic bags, straws, wires, clothing, soda and beer packaging, frozen food boxes, paper coffee cups, paper towels and tissue.
Check with your local department of public works to find what changes are in store for curbside pickup.