One year later

Single-stream recycling: easy, effective and it helps to keep New Milford green

For years in the Greater New Milford area and in plenty of other communities across America, recycling was a chore.

It was tedious to separate the aluminum cans from the glass jars and plastic bottles.

It was a pain to tie up those unwieldy bundles of newspapers, magazines and office paper.

But when Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority launched widespread single-stream recycling last year, recycling instantly became a winning proposition for the 11 HRRA member communities: New Milford, Kent, Sherman, Bridgewater, Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown, Redding and Ridgefield.

A leading proponent in the region for single-stream recycling -- a way for customers to dump their unsorted recyclables into one container -- has been the New Milford recycling center.

Recycling advocate Jay Lewin, a New Milford resident who has volunteered with the town's recycling program since 1989, has witnessed a dramatic increase in New Milford's single-stream participation over the last year.

In fact, Mr. Lewin called it "an unprecedented success -- beyond anyone's expectations" for the New Milford center.

New Milford recently added a second single-stream container to its recycling center on Young's Field Road to keep up with local demand.

We believe the $10,000 price tag for the container, which collects and compresses the deposited recyclables, is well worth the investment.

It is an investment in the sustainable, natural beauty of New Milford and a greener, cleaner town for years to come.

At Winters Bros. Waste Systems, the largest vendor in the HRRA region, Vice President Kevin Nolan said the Danbury-based firm has seen a 10 percent increase in recycling since single-stream recycling became widely available last year.

We believe this percentage will only grow as more people come on board with single-stream recycling, an easy, efficient and cost-effective way to reduce the local waste stream.