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Durham Region recycling: the two-stream system

DURHAM: Have you ever wondered why you’re asked to separate paper and containers into different blue boxes when recycling? It’s because Durham Region uses a two-stream recycling system, which has several benefits, including keeping paper products clean and protecting their value.  

“Collection vehicles have two separate compartments for paper and containers,” explains Mirka Januszkiewicz, Director of Waste Management Services. “By separating recyclables at the collection point, our Material Recovery Facility receives less contaminated materials, which results in better quality recyclables, more diversion and lower operating costs.”

Some municipalities operate on a single-stream collection system, where all recyclables are collected together in one container and then sorted at the recycling facility. While this can be more convenient for residents, it results in higher levels of contamination, downgraded material quality, more wasted materials and lower revenues. Single-stream collection systems allow the contents of containers to soil paper products, making the contaminated recyclables harder to sell after processing.

“Durham residents have always been great at separating their recycling,” concludes Ms. Januszkiewicz. “We hope they continue to stay vigilant to help our two-stream recycling system succeed in saving time and money.”

For more recycling tips and information, like how to pack and sort your blue boxes, and where to place an item you’re unsure of, visit To replace your damaged blue boxes free of charge, bring them to the Waste Management Centre at 4600 Garrard Road North in Whitby. The Waste Management Centre is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some local municipal offices may exchange broken blue boxes. Contact your local area municipality for details.  

Photo courtesy of Region of Durham.

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