Recycling Resource Guide
Household Hazardous Waste
Making the Most of Your Apartment Recycling Program
Consistency and clear communication are two of the principal barriers to overcome in building and maintaining a successful recycling program at any property. Confused or frustrated tenants will often contaminate the recycle containers with non-recyclable items or simply give up on recycling altogether. However, with proper guidance, most residents will happily and correctly recycle, and they will appreciate your efforts to provide quality recycling services.
Here are some basic steps you can take to improve the collection of recyclables at your property:
LABELS: All containers used for collecting and storing recyclables should be clearly labeled with recycling decals. Information on the decals should include what items are accepted and what items are not accepted for recycling in that specific container or recycling program. Image-based decals work best in educating tenants and should be placed on cart lids or the front side of dumpsters. Recycling containers also should have some type of recycling label or decal on all sides that face out.
PLACEMENT: Whenever possible, recycle containers should be at least as convenient for tenants to access as garbage containers. When recycle containers are isolated or hidden away, they often go unused or become contaminated with garbage. Ideally, recycle containers should be paired in the same location as garbage containers.
CLEANLINESS: Recycle containers and the area around recycle containers should be kept clean and litter-free. When recycle containers are left overflowing and messy, tenants may mistake the containers for garbage collection areas. Having recycle containers that are a different color than trash containers can also make it easier for tenants to identify them for recycling only.
CAPACITY: The quantity and service frequency of recycle containers should be enough to accommodate the tenant population at that property. Two recycle carts serviced once a week might work for an 8 unit property; however, two recycle carts would be grossly underserving a property of 100 units. As a general rule, recycling capacity should be at least 20% of the total volume of waste collected. For example, if a property has five 4 cubic yard garbage dumpsters serviced once a week (total 5 x 4 cu. yd. x 1 = 20 cubic yards of garbage capacity per week), then the equivalent recycling volume would be 20% of the garbage volume (20 cu. yd. x 20% = 4 cubic yards of recycling capacity per week).
COMMUNICATION: Be sure to educate new tenants on your property’s recycling program as they move in and send out regular recycling reminders to all tenants. Consider having larger signage posted in recycling collection areas to help educate tenants. Set up a page on your properties website that explains the recycling program at your property and share that URL with all your tenants. Contact your recycling service provider if the recycling containers need repair or relabeling.