Separation Methods - Material separation can occur at
the generating source, at the drop-off containers, or at the MRF. The choice
of collection and segregation strategies will have a considerable impact on
the level of employee participation, operating costs, and the overall
success of the program. The easier it is for the employees to participate in
the program, the greater the level of participation that will be
Drop-Off - The drop-off collection method typically
consists of placing multiple collection bins in a centralized location,
often the recycling center, where participants bring their recyclables.
Participation can be increased by placing additional bins in strategic
locations throughout the facility. Participants are required to sort their
material and place it in appropriate bins.
Advantages: This collection method is usually the least
expensive collection option and equipment costs are minimized. Persons that
voluntarily drop off recyclables tend to properly sort items. Drop-off
collection can be used alone or in conjunction with other collection
Disadvantages: Participation levels are usually lower since
participants bear the burden of collecting and delivering recyclables to the
collection center. Recyclables may be commingled or mixed with trash if bins
are unattended. Trying to identify specific employees that may need
additional training on segregation procedures will be difficult under this
method. If employee participation is mandatory, recyclables are unlikely to
be properly sorted. The area may also become untidy if bin overflow is
allowed. Productivity may also suffer due to each employee being required to
deliver their own recyclable to the drop-off area.
Source Separation - This method is the most common and
fosters a great deal of participation. The containers used are available at
a close distance from the work station for easy access. All the materials
placed in these bins are sorted by the user. At scheduled periods, the bins
are emptied by the collection team/custodians and taken to the MRF.
Advantages: Materials are never mixed. Also, there is less
overall contamination and all employees monitor their own areas. The
participation is much greater with less negative impact on productivity.
Disadvantages: The amount of floor space needed throughout the
facility to accommodate all the containers is greater. There is also the
initial cost to purchase the containers. Other facilities have proven that
commercially available household duty recyclable bins have held up fine and
are about one third the cost of industrial grade bins. There are recycling
bins available in every size and color. Several models are stackable which
allows placement of several different bins on the same floor