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What are the differences between single- and dual-stream recycling?

December 06, 2012
What is dual-stream recycling?

Davenport and Bettendorf residents currently use dual-stream recycling.

This means that residents keep paper in one container and other recyclables—such as plastic and metal—in another. In Davenport, residents use separate bins. In Bettendorf, residents place items in carts that have dividers down the middle.

Both cities collect and deliver their recyclables to the Scott Area Recycling Center, a materials recovery facility designed to handle recyclables collected using the dual-stream method.

The Recycling Center has two sorting lines: One for paper, and one for commingled containers made from plastic, metal and glass.

For more information about recycling in Scott County, visit the recycling education section.

What is single-stream recycling?

Single-stream recycling is exactly what it sounds like.

Rather than sorting paper from other recyclables—such as metal and glass—residents place everything into the recycling cart together.

Proponents of single-stream recycling say that it makes recycling easier to do. And when recycling is easier, more people may participate—raising recycling rates and increasing the amount of material that’s diverted from the landfill.

This video (1:23 min.) shows how Chicago’s single-stream recycling program works.

This video (12:42 min.) shows how the Tri-County (Wis.) single-stream program works.

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