“Reduce, reuse, recycle” has been the battle cry of environmentalists everywhere for a while now. Recycling is a major way to help the environment and reserve our finite resources. However, what is shocking to many is that the recyclables you put into the bin may still end up in a landfill.
Single Stream recycling makes it easier to recycle: no sorting. Everything just goes into one bin, creating an incentive to recycle more things. It really cannot get any easier. The problem with single stream recycling is the efficiency is lowered, increasing the chances that some recyclables will actually not be recycled. To some this decrease in efficiency defeats the entire purpose of recycling. Recycling reduces the need for extraction of raw material, and therefore manufacturing consumes less energy than it would from raw materials.
For me, I believe the lack in efficiency might be cancelled out by the increase in actual recycling that would occur if this system were in place. People want things to be easy and do not want to go out of their way to recycle. The same is true with me if I am in a rush. I’m not saying it is right, but it’s the truth. Most people in the dorms recycle maybe half of what they could be because sorting can be a hassle. Or there are people like me, who when running out the door puts everything in one recycle bin outside, no matter if the recyclables are in the correctly labeled bin or not. I hope Ithaca College considers switching to Single Stream Recycling in order to raise awareness about the importance of recycling, but also to raise awareness at how effortless helping the environment can be.