Post Falls to go single-stream

Recycling program allows for co-mingling, more commodities

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Kiff Christensen, a curbside recycling driver for Coeur d'Alene Garbage-Post Falls Sanitation, carries a tray full of newspaper from a customer's recycling bin Wednesday in Post Falls.

POST FALLS - Coming this year to your Post Falls curbside: single-stream recycling pickup.

The city plans to hammer out an agreement as soon as this spring with its solid waste and recycling hauler, Post Falls Sanitation, that creates a system where all recyclables are co-mingled in a single bin rather than sorted.

"We want to make it easier for people to recycle and extend the life of the landfill," said Post Falls City Administrator Eric Keck, adding that only 27 percent of the Post Falls residents currently recycle under the "semi-sort" system that separates paper from plastic in nesting bins within a larger bin.

Many residents are on board with the new system. A better recycling program was listed as a priority in a citizen survey last year.

"Everybody is so busy nowadays, and they just don't want to take the time to sort," Deidre Abbott said. "If you just dump it and put it on the curb, people are more likely to participate."

Some residents find it hard to imagine doing away with separating items.

"It'll take some getting used to dumping all the recyclables together, especially after sorting for so long," said Sandy Black. "But, if they're OK with that, I'll be OK with that."

The items will be sorted at Bluebird Recycling in Coeur d'Alene, where eventually the material will make its way to places such as IMCO Aluminum in Post Falls and Inland Empire Paper in Spokane.

Details of an agreement and the single-stream program haven't been sorted out, but Keck anticipates the service being launched this year. He believes the service, which likely would be bi-weekly instead of weekly, won't mean an increase in cost for residents.

Phil Damiano, owner of Post Falls Sanitation, said he's confident that an agreement, which would be an amendment to its existing contract, will be worked out.

"It's the way of the future," he said. "(Single-stream recycling) started in the urban areas, and now the more rural communities are following that. This stays in touch with national and global trends.

"It's good for the county (which has waste transfer stations), it's good for the landfill and it's good for the people."

Coeur d'Alene, through Waste Management, implemented single-stream recycling last year. Recycling in that city has increased - from 27 to 54 percent - as a result of that move. Other communities such as Twin Falls are around 80 percent participation.

The number of commodities also increase with single-stream recycling, from eight to 16, Damiano said.

Items currently not taken that will be include aluminum foil and food trays, office paper, cereal boxes, junk mail and plastic plant pots.

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