Single-Stream Recycling in St. Louis

What is it?

Single-stream recycling is a system that accumulates all recyclables in a blue bin, which is then collected by a recycling company and transported to the facility where the items are sorted within the single-stream system. This recycling process is easier in the sense that you, the at-home recycler, are not sorting items in your living space and rather putting all items in one container separate from landfill garbage. However, this simplicity returns some disadvantages. Often times, people forget what is accepted in single-stream recycling facilities and place all packaging materials in their bin. This error ends up doing more harm than good for the system.



What can go into the blue bins?

Making sure you’re putting the correct items in the recycling bin creates a time-efficient system at the facility where a hold-up on the line could push back the processing time for the entire recycling system. Below is a basic list of what everyday items can be placed in the single-stream recycling. Find out more specifics at St. Louis's recycling website.

  • Paper products

  • Glass bottles & jars

  • Flattened cardboard

  • Metal containers

  • Plastic Bottles & containers

  • Food and beverage containers


What goes to the landfill?

Unfortunately, not everything you’ve thought to be recyclable can be recycled. Below is a list containing some items often placed within the single-stream system that will actually go to a landfill. Find more at the St. Louis City government website.

  • Plastic bags

  • Containers found in the freezer aisle

  • Greasy pizza boxes

  • Styrofoam

  • Paper cups

  • One-time-use (utensils, packaging, etc)

  • Food-contaminated items


More information

Recycling is a big step you can take in helping reduce your carbon footprint, and single-stream recycling systems offer one of the easiest ways you can start. Even the smallest contribution or having a conscious effort can help our polluted planet.



Some more links that go more into the depth of single-stream recycling: