AUBURN, Massachusetts?Party-goers should think twice about tossing their Solo cups in the trash. Beginning this semester, Bowdoin students can recycle many more items than before, thanks to the new single-stream recycling system that Brunswick now uses.

Prior to this semester, students separated their recyclables into five categories: glass, mixed paper, tin cans, number-two plastic, and cardboard. Under the new system, all recyclable materials, as well as many former non-recyclables, can be mixed together in the same bin.

Once the recycling on campus has been collected, it travels to the Casella/FCR recycling facility in Auburn, Massachusetts, for sorting. According to plant managers Gene Corsey and Joe Carese, Auburn is the only single-stream facility in the Northeast, and it receives recyclables from municipalities all over the region.

When the recycling arrives at the facility, sorters remove any trash before the recycling moves through a series of screens, which separate the various types of recyclables. Cardboard, newspaper, mixed paper, plastic, tin and steel are separated and baled. The facility crushes and pulverizes all the glass.

The baled materials and crushed glass are then sold as commodities, the profits of which provide 98 percent of the revenue for the facility, which can process up to 10,000 tons of recycling each month, according to Corsey and Carese.

Brunswick Assistant Public Works Director Craig Worth said that the town switched to single-stream recycling for financial reasons, and to extend the life of the town landfill. Under Brunswick's old system, the town baled each of the five categories of recyclables itself. But the baler was aging and the recycling building needed to be renovated, so it made more financial sense to switch to single-stream recycling, rather than purchase a new baler and improve the building.

The old system also could not recycle many potentially recyclable items, said Worth. Those items were ending up in the Brunswick landfill, at the cost of around $80 a ton. Instead, Worth said, single-stream recycling will keep recyclables out of the town landfill, extending its life by five to eight years.

Single-stream recycling also increases recycling rates, Corsey and Carese added. Brunswick officials hope that their new pay-by-the-bag trash pick-up program, introduced along with single stream recycling on January 22, will further encourage residents to recycle.

Under the pay-by-the-bag program, residents now must put their trash in special plastic bags that must be purchased from locations around town.

While single stream recycling began only in the end of January, recycling rates have already increased in Brunswick. According to Punnie Edgarton, a member of the Brunswick Recycling Committee, the quantity of curbside recycling in Brunswick increased 55 percent in the first two weeks of single stream. Trash quantities went down 50 percent in the same amount of time.

According to Coordinator for a Sustainable Bowdoin Keisha Payson, the College has not yet experienced Brunswick's drastic increase in amount of recycling since switching to single stream recycling.

Although Payson said that it is too early to say whether or not the switch will have an effect on recycling rates at Bowdoin, she is optimistic.

"The new rules should take some of the confusion out of recycling," said Payson.

Payson and other Sustainable Bowdoin employees and volunteers are trying to increase participation in recycling by educating students, faculty, and staff about single stream.

Jan and Dan the Can, Sustainable Bowdoin's recycling mascots, have travelled campus encouraging students to recycle and giving out recycling stickers. Fans of Jan and Dan the Can can "friend" them on Facebook by searching for Dan Von Can. Students may also notice a new recycling mascot, Recycle Man, who will be on campus in the coming weeks.

In addition to deploying Dan and Jan, Sustainable Bowdoin has been replacing old recycling signs with new ones. The bright green "YES" signs explain what can now be recycled and appear on recycling bins around campus. Volunteers are also working to increase awareness by making recycling presentations to dorms and departments.

"Our job is to make sure people know what they could recycle," said Payson.