An increase in recycling in Upper Southampton Township could lead to a reduction of the cost of residents’ garbage removal services.
Last April, the township made the switch from commingled recycling to single-stream recycling. Single-stream allows for residents to toss all kinds of recyclables into the same bin as well as recycle a wider variety of materials.
Single-stream recycling typically goes over well in communities—such as Southampton—that are new to the practice, said Frank Sau, Director of Communications for J.P. Mascaro & Sons.
“Single stream or one source, is no sorting whatsoever by the homeowner or by the business or whatever,” said Sau. “Whenever we implement this into a community, the recycling rates usually do go up.”
Sau said last May Upper Southampton Township recycled 104 tons—this May there were 117 tons total of recycled material.
The difference may seem small, but according to the township, the amount of revenue from recycling in May 2010 was just over $3,000. In May 2011, it well over $6,000.
Township Manager Joseph Golden said extra cash made from increased recycling could benefit homeowners in paying for their trash services.
“We add in the revenue we get for the recyclables plus whatever other revenues we get, and that’s how we calculate how much our trash fees are going to be every year,” he said.
Upper Southampton residents currently pay $335 per year for trash removal. Golden said that’s one of the cheapest prices around and that it could go even lower with the continuation of high recycling revenues.
But there are two issues that may be holding those numbers back, said Sau.
The first issue being that single-stream makes it easier for recyclables to be contaminated. Sau uses the example of a jar of salsa that hadn’t been washed out staining newspaper that was placed into the same bin.
Second, Sau said residents get confused when they see compaction trucks, which are also used for garbage, picking up their recyclables. Sau said this misconception has caused some people to stop putting out their recycling all together.
It’s a common misconception that milk jugs or juice in cardboard containers are not recyclable.
Tara Hemmer, Area Recycling Operations Director for Waste Management, said those items are indeed recyclable at their facility—no matter what they’re made of.
The only material they do not accept is waxed cardboard, which, she said, is not a common household item.
“It’s common in the food industry,” Hemmer said. “It’s often packaging material for fruits and vegetables.”
Hemmer said, however, that it is the township that ultimately decides what its residents can recycle.
Golden said the township has no restrictions that the sorting company doesn’t have.
“Our list is dependent on what the recycling center can handle,” he said.
Additionally, any plastic with a recycling triangle with one through seven in the center can be recycled.
All items must be rinsed out.