Yale University transitions to single-stream recycling



Separating paper, bottles, and cans for recycling will soon be a task of the past at Yale.

Over the last year, the University has been transitioning to single-stream recycling — a system that allows recyclers to deposit cans, bottles, and other glass, plastic and metal containers in bins along with mixed paper.

Yale Facilities is rolling out single-stream recycling in incremental steps. The new system began last year when it was piloted at several external and internal locations, including near the main entrance of Woolsey Hall, Hewitt Quadrangle (Beinecke Plaza), the Yale Health Center at 55 Lock St. and inside the Yale University Press, the Rudd Center and Divinity North.

These successful pilots found that single stream is a simpler way to recycle, both for the user and collector. Grounds maintenance staff began collecting Yale’s recyclable materials mixed together in the same truck in August 2010.

“Essentially, Yale has been single-stream recycling from the point of collection for more than a year now,” said Bob Ferretti, Yale’s waste and recycling manager. “We wanted to ensure a smooth operational transition by identifying and working out any kinks in the system prior to launching more broadly.” Custodial staff will all be notified of the change and will receive training on the procedures during their regular training sessions.

Over the course of the upcoming academic year, the University will begin to fully transition to single-stream recyling in order to increase recycling participation and out of convenience for the Yale community.

According to Ginger Chapman, director of sustainability initiatives for Yale Facilities, “Although our recycling program has been quite effective we can do more. The consolidation of all recycling into one bin typically results in higher participation rates, increased tonnages and greater collection efficiencies. We expect to see these benefits play out over the course of the coming year.”

As a part of this, the facilities team will also ensure that all recycling bins and trash cans are placed next to one another in strategic locations, both indoors and outdoors, throughout campus.

Single-stream recycling has been implemented at several colleges and universities including Harvard and Dartmouth as well as numerous municipalities across the United States — New Haven included. According to NBC Connecticut News, Hartford experienced a 15% recycling rate increase after one year of making the switch to single-stream recycling.

When buildings convert to single-stream recycling, signs will be posted and general communication will be sent to building occupants to serve as a reminder of the new program. The building’s facilities superintendent will serve as the point of contact for questions or concerns.