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Recycling // Knowledge Base

Recycling: By Stream

There are a number of important things to know about the different recycling streams and the impact that each particular stream has on the process of recycling. Check out our guide of the most useful

Shelby Bell | October 11, 2017


There are a number of important things to know about the different recycling streams (cardboard, paper, mixed recycling, etc...) and the impact that each particular stream has on the process of recycling. We've sought out the most useful tips, by stream, to help you understand more.
Check out the guide below:


Cardboard is currently the most valuable commodity of recycled products. As it is, about 70% of cardboard-boxes are recovered for recycling. It's key to acknowledge these facts to maximize the value of your cardboard:


  • Cardboard is recycled to make cereal boxes, paperboard, paper towels and tissues
  • When recycling cardboard, be sure to break it down. Cardboard naturally takes up a lot of space, and breaking it down will allow for you to fill more cardboard in your container and decrease the number of needed pickups.
  • Keep it clean and dry, because drenched cardboard can clog up the sorting machines. Also, cardboard with grease, oil or food are contaminated and invaluable.

stack of cardboard

cardboard pizza box



stack of paper
  • 45 millions tons or, 63% of paper is recycled annually
  • To be recycled, paper is repulped and the fibers are cleaned to eliminate contaminates and then the fibers are pressed and rolled into paper
  • Paper can typically be recycled 5-7 times until the fibers become to small to bond back together
  • Recyclable paper includes: magazines, office/printer paper, mixed/colored paper, newspapers, paperboard, phone books, paper bags and wrapping paper




Did you know the United States produces enough plastic each year to shrink wrap Texas? Commingled recycling allows you to recycle many types of plastics, glass and metal. Commingled recycling includes a lot of different containers, but it doesn't have to be difficult when you follow these tips:


  • The commingled stream keeps fiberous materials like cardboard and paper separated to avoid contamination
  • Types of recyclable glass: Clear glass, brown glass and green glass
  • Avoid broken glass, ceramics, and heat-resistant glass
  • Types of recyclable plastics include: clean bottles, jars, and jugs
  • Always remember to remove any caps from your bottles. There's a completely different melting point between the bottle and the lids
  • It's important to keep styrofoam and thin plastics out of your container because they easily clog recycling equipment

a variety of commingled recyclables

a container with food residue and a spoon



a pile of food compost

a composting bin

  • Recycling in it's most natural form, composting turns your yard and food waste into natural fertilizer
  • According to the EPA, food scraps and yard waste account for 20-30% of what we throw away
  • Compostable materials include: Vegetable pieces, coffee grounds, food scraps, fruit peels, waxed cardboard, paper towels and napkins, flowers and plants
  • Tips for composting: Line your bin, make a list of compostable material and put a lid on it to contain the smell


Other Streams


It's currently estimated that there is $20 billion of valuable commodity sitting in landfills across the country. Let us help you to keep as many of your valuable materials out of landfill as possible such as: unwanted clothing, scrap metal and batteries


  • Any kind of textile can be recycled including worn, stained and torn clothing!
  • There are several forms of scrap that can be recycled including: electronics, pipes, wires, steel, construction beams or aluminum roof shingles
  • It's best to collect batteries separately from other waste and recyclables because they contain hazardous chemicals
  • Lead-acid batteries are the most recycled type of battery, with a 97% reuse rate.

a pile of clothing

various e-waste materials



RoadRunner can help you recycle your valuables in the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way while saving your business money. Leave us a comment below, or reach out to one of our recycling experts today for more information!



Let's get the conversation started on how to drive recycling and cost savings for your business.