Recycle Bin

After a successful test run this spring, the city of Washington plans to move forward with single stream recycling. 

Director of Public Services John Nilges said city residents should see a change in the city’s curbside recycling program sometime in early 2018. The switch will be a benefit to both residents and the city, he said.

The single stream setup was tested out in late April. Instead of having pickup crews sort the recycling to separate the glass from the plastic, the recycling is instead picked up in bulk. 

For the test run, city workers emptied and thoroughly cleaned out one of the city trash trucks. Crews then went on their normal routes and filled up the truck with recyclable material.

Once the truck was full, crews took it to a facility in Earth City to unload. The city expected to make several trips to the facility, but only ended up picking up about 4 tons of material and making one trip. 

Nilges said the single stream setup was a major help for city workers. By not having to sort at the curb, the recycling pickup time was cut in half.

Under the current setup, Nilges said it takes the recycling crews about 8 to 10 hours to finish their routes. With the single stream setup, the routes were done in just four hours. 

Nilges said the goal for the city was to reduce manpower hours spent on the pickup. By cutting the time in half, Street Superintendent Tony Bonastia has more hours available to use his crews in other ways. 

To make single stream work, the city will be purchasing a brand new trash truck and never use it to pick up trash. Nilges said the truck will be branded as a recycling truck and used exclusively as one.

Once single stream is up and running, Nilges said there will be a point when residents can recycle cardboard. 

The switch to single stream will take place once the city gets the new truck. Nilges said that will likely take several months, meaning sometime in the spring of 2018 is the earliest possible time to make the change.

The single stream changeover won’t have any impact on the city’s recycling center, Nilges said. Residents can still use the facility to drop off a number of goods. The types of accepted goods can be found on the city’s website. 

The recycling center is open Tuesday through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center is located at 400 Recycle Drive.