Recycling Gets Streamlined
Recycling at Harvard just got a whole lot easier. As of July 1; paper, cans, bottles, and cardboard can all be discarded into the same recycling bins. It's a process known as SingleStream recycling and it's sure to increase the amount of material that's recycled here at the University.
"When recycling programs switch to Single-Stream, a 20% increase in the amount of material recovered is not uncommon," says Harvard Recycling Manager Rob Gogan. "The students, faculty, and staff at Harvard already do a great job recycling. In fact, our recovery rate is 52% which is the highest in the Ivy League. But this program will certainly take things to the next level."
In the past, recyclable materials were sorted at the point of disposal. Paper products had to be thrown in one bin, glass products in another bin, and so on, and so on. With Single-Stream recycling, all the material can be thrown into one bin simplifying the process. The recyclables are then picked up by Harvard Recycling trucks and the University's recycling contractor, Save That Stuff, and eventually shipped to a facility in the town of Auburn, MA where they are sorted automatically and categorized into 15 marketable commodities. The glass, for instance, goes to Franklin, MA to be recycled into clear and brown bottles. The paper goes to Fitchburg to a north shore recycled fiber mill which makes paperboard for breakfast cereal boxes and game boards. Other commodities go as far away as China and India.
SingleStream recycling is popular in many local communities including Boston, Quincy, Weymouth, Braintree, Duxbury, Natick, Framingham, Plymouth, Billerica, Tyngsborough, Chelmsford and Tewksbury. "Instead of worrying about how to sort materials, folks can now just get busy recycling and put an even bigger dent in their waste streams," says Rob.