Checking in on Single-Stream Recycling

Earlier this year, Upper Southampton Township made the switch to single-stream recycling. Patch checks in with residents to see how they feel about the new program.

It has been three months since Upper Southampton residents have been able to skip sorting their recyclables before bringing them to the curb.

This means township residents can throw items such as plastic products labeled one through seven, aluminum cans and foil, metal cans, lids, glass bottles and jars, mixed paper and cardboard all in the same bin.

Township Manager Joseph Golden said before the township adopted single-stream recycling, residents had to separate their recyclables into three or four bins. 

The waste that qualified as recyclable was also very limited. As far as plastics, Golden said, only those labeled one and two were recyclable.

He said residents seem to favor the change.

Debbie Stroup, who’s lived in the township for almost 40 years, said with the use of single-stream recycling, she estimates about 75 percent of her waste is recycled.

“I love it,” she said. “My only complaint is that they should give us bigger containers.”

Golden said for extra recycling containers, residents may come to the township office and request a free sticker that can be put on any container up to 40 gallons. This container, with the sticker visible, can then be put out in addition to the resident's existing recycling container.

Residents also have the option of purchasing a 20 or 30-gallon primary recycling container from the township.

Stroup said her most recycled household items are things like yogurt containers and cans of Arizona Iced Tea. She said since the change, she’s recycling things she would have otherwise tossed in the trash.

“(Before the change), I didn’t take (plastics the township wasn’t accepting) other places,” she said. “I should have."

The change has inspired her so much, Stroup placed a box in the front of the Southampton Free Library, where she works, so recycling is more convenient.

Although many seem to favor the new recycling practices, there are some who think the way it works should be more clearly explained.

Tricia Michael said she thinks it's unclear as to whether or not newspaper can be mixed with the rest of the recyclables.

“(In the past,) we asked the residents to commingle everything but the newspaper,” said Golden. “(Now, residents) can mix everything together—even the newspaper.”

Even though pamphlets were sent out explaining how to use single-stream recycling, Michael said she thinks many residents are still confused.

“I’m still learning and figuring out what new things you can add,” she said.

Peter Rasmussen, an Upper Southampton resident of nearly 40 years, said he shares these sentiments.

“I don’t think (the residents) know about it as well as they should,” he said. “I only found out accidentally.”

Rasmussen said he favors the new method and thinks its convenience has increased residents’ willingness to recycle.

Golden said the township tries to increase awareness whenever possible and residents should see the township’s website if they need further clarification.

Interested in finding out what happens to your recycling after it hits the curb? Check back with Patch for an in-depth look at the process of recycling in the township.

Linda July 15, 2011 at 01:52 PM
I would like to know when we will be able to toss orange and milk cartons into our recycling containers as they do in Abington township.


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