Gulfport: Single Stream Recycling

Q: Councilwoman Jennifer Salmon talked about “single stream” recycling, whereby everything goes into one bin and then to one collection center for sorting. Does this form of recycling yield less or more money for the city? Also, do a higher percentage of the collected products end up actually making it through the remanufacturing process that way or through our current system?

A: The current rate for single stream is $3 per ton. We currently receive for mixed plastic $5 per ton, commingled containers $3, cardboard $85 and mixed paper/newspaper $20 per ton. So, less. The city would receive substantially less money for these items. Currently, the monies received help pay for the city’s recycling program.

While the single stream system means less money for Gulfport, Public Works Director Don Sopak tells us it doesn’t necessarily mean fewer items get made into new products.

“I have toured Progressive’s new MRF [materials remanufacturing facility] in St. Petersburg and our current MRF Recycling Services of Florida,” Sopak says, “and I see no difference in the amount of product that makes it through.”

Currently, the revenue generated by the city’s recycling program pays for part of the city’s recycling program, with a shortfall of $10,000.

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