Recycling Resource Guide
Household Hazardous Waste
Making the Most of Your Multi-Family Property Recycling Program and Reducing Recycling Contamination
Successfully keeping contaminants out of the recycling stream at Multi-Family Properties requires a partnership between the recycling service provider, property management, and tenants. Below are listed several methods in which service providers and property managers can take to help prevent recycling contamination. While no method is foolproof, by implementing one or more of the methods below, the odds of the recycling stream becoming contaminated with trash and/or non-recyclables can be significantly reduced. With proper guidance, most residents will happily and correctly recycle, and they will appreciate your efforts to provide quality recycling services.
1. BE DISTINCTIVE – Recycle collection containers that are conspicuously visually or physically different from trash collection containers can help lower contamination. Confused or frustrated tenants will often contaminate the recycle containers with non-recyclable items. This can be improved by:
- > Using recycling containers that are a different color than the trash containers. Try to avoid using the color black for recycle collection containers, as people commonly associate black carts with the standard residentially collected trash containers.
- > Using different collection equipment for recycling can also help to better identify recycle containers apart from trash containers. For example, having trash collected in large-sized dumpsters and recycling collected in individual carts.
2. PROPER LABELING – All recycle collection containers should be clearly labeled in large print facing out to the public with the following information:
- > Decals identifying the container as a recycling container, such as “Recycling,” “Recycling Only,” or “Recycle Here.”
- > Decals warning people not to place trash in the container, such as “Warning No Trash.”
- > Decals listing what items are accepted and not accepted in that specific recycling container or recycling program. Image-based decals work best.
3. CONTAINER 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.
4. ADEQUATE TRASH VOLUME – Be sure there is sufficient trash volume capacity to accommodate the number of tenants living at the property. Inadequate trash capacity or trash collection frequency can result in full or overflowing trash containers, which in turn might lead tenants to place trash in recycle containers.
5. ADEQUATE RECYCLE VOLUME – Consider adding a slotted and locked “Cardboard Only” recycling collection container to handle the high volume shipping boxes tenants are receiving. Adding a “Cardboard Only” container will also help to prevent other recycle containers from filling up too quickly.
6. KEEP TRASH COLLECTION AREA CLEAN – Trash and recycle containers, and the surrounding area around should be kept clean and litter-free. When recycle containers are left overflowing and messy, tenants may mistake the containers for garbage collection areas.
7. EDUCATION – Be sure to educate new tenants about the recycling program as they move in and send out regular recycling reminders to all tenants. Recycling service providers should be able to provide a printed or downloadable list of what items are accepted and not accepted for recycling. 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 and share that URL with tenants.