Albany switches to single-stream recycling

albany blue recycling bin

All you need is blue -- or green. Apparently it doesn't matter now.

The City of Albany officially announced today that it's made the switch to single-stream recycling. (It had unofficially made the switch back in July.) That means A-Towners can throw all their recyclables into one bin, instead of sorting into the green and blue.* [TU]

Troy made this switch last October. And County Waste, the big private trash hauler, has been transitioning since the end of 2009.

The one-bin-for-them-all method theoretically will be easier for people. And if that increases the amount of stuff getting diverted from the landfill -- great. Back in 2009, a consultant reported that "significant quantities of designated recyclables" were ending up in the landfill. That's bad for at least a few reasons. One, because stuff that could recycled was being stuck in the ground. And two, because the Albany landfill, which takes trash from 16 municipalities, doesn't have a lot of space left -- it's anticipated to be full by the end of 2016. There's now discussion about creating a regional trash authority to deal with the problem. [TU] [Albany Landfill] [TU]

A flier with details about the constant "Can this be recycled?" question is after the jump.

* Right or wrong, we've been one-binning for months after we didn't get a green container. The stuff disappeared each week, so... uh... maybe it was OK.

Albany Single Stream Recycling Flier

Earlier on AOA:
+ That is a lot of garbage
+ How does pay-as-you-throw smell?


at least we know the city isn't wasting money on graphic designers.

Ummm, yeah I've been "one-binning" for almost two years. I never had the green one and I'm pretty sure I read in the City's recycling pamphlet that the green one was optional anyway (otherwise I would have asked for one). So, I'm not sure what's really changing here. Maybe they sorted the paper out on their end.

I think the green bin was optional. But you were required to divide the blue bin in a very specific way. Paper on the bottom, tied with twine. Then glass, plastic, and cans divided on top. My guess would be only about half of people on my block even tried to follow that procedure.

To Blech: Many have had your experience. If I had to guess, they weren't sorting it out on the other end and much of it probably ended up in the trash, i.e. landfill. What is different now is that they are actually sorting (otherwise they wouldn't have made the announcement). People have witnessed DGS employees throwing the different containers into the same pool for at least a few years. The upside (although it should not have had to come to this) is that down the road the landfill can be mined for recyclables. Either by sanitation workers or by the rest of us as our society careens toward collective indentured servitude.

Cincinnatus: are you Kunstler?

Holy crap! I live in Troy and had no idea that I didn't have to sort recyclables anymore!

By Single Stream - I think they really mean they're going to take my recyclabes and throw them in the garbage truck. I've watched them repeatedly do this. So frustrating.

All of a sudden an informative sticker about single-stream recycling appeared on my blue bin. I kind of laugh when I think about the garbage dudes having to stick them on every bin...that must have suuuuucked! (But very nice of them to do!)

Dude, I had been doing single stream the entire time I lived there. I just had a blue bin and never saw any of my neighbors use a green and blue bin.

Albany should be composting too. Other cities divert a tremendous amount from landfill by offering weekly curbside pickup of ALL compostables, including table scraps, diapers, kleenex....everything goes in a neat, tight bin with a latch. Toronto has been doing this for a decade. Not sure why we're not.

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