Owners and landlords of multi-family properties are required to establish convenient recycling systems by state and local laws. If you do not currently offer recycling to your tenants, reach out to your municipality to determine local ordinances and requirements for recycling in your area.
1. Set Up Recycling Hauling
Contact your current trash hauler and inquire about recycling opportunities. Most trash haulers, such as also provide recycling services. Consider reaching out to multiple waste haulers, in addition to your current hauler, to find the best price for your property.
Acquire recycling receptacles for your residents’ recycling materials. Wheeled toters may be sufficient for very small properties with only a few units, medium and larger-sized properties need entire dumpsters exclusively for recycling. Typically, waste haulers are able to provide appropriate collection bins for properties.
2. Set Up Recycling Collection System for Residents and Staff
Recycling Bin in an Uptown Apartment Building.
After setting up the recycling hauling systems, set up a collection system for the property residents and staff. This includes providing accessible recycling containers and recycling containers in community spaces. As a rule, recycling should be as convenient as a residents access to waste disposal. Place recycling containers next to every waste receptacle.
Include recycling containers for resident use for each of your buildings, preferably inside. Examples of preferable locations inside buildings include centralized trash rooms or communal hallways; examples of preferable locations outside buildings include in property garages or right behind properties. These recycling bins are designed to collect recyclable materials primarily generated in residential units.
Also include recycling containers in property public spaces such as lobbies, mail rooms, community rooms, courtyards, laundry rooms, and more. These recycling containers should be for any recyclables generated in community areas, such as beverage bottles and laundry detergent bottles. Additionally, include recycling bins for any offices that may operate within your property.
Throughout this process, work with the property’s maintenance and/or janitorial staff to ensure a successful recycling program. These members of the staff can provide valuable input in the location of the recycling bins and hauling strategies within the property. Work with them to determine how often recycling bins in community areas or in trash rooms need to be emptied.
3. Educate Property Residents and Staff
Use a combination of techniques to ensure residents and staff are aware of the recycling program.
Install clear signage about what items are recyclable and where to recycle in the building. Include a combination of images and text. These signs should be posted with every recycling bin in the property, including in trash rooms and community spaces. Find template recycling signage in the “Educational Materials” section below, which property owners are free to use and install.
Communicate with residents about the new or existing recycling program. Discuss the program at monthly meetings, property newsletters, or community events. Distribute educational materials, such as brochures, to new and existing residents to ensure that every member of the community understands the new recycling system. Educational materials should mirror the signage posted throughout the property. Find template recycling brochures in the “Educational Materials” section below which are free to use and distribute to residents and staff.
4. Follow-Up with Residents and Staff
Check in regularly with residents and staff to remind them about good recycling habits to ensure high participation rates and low contamination rates. Adjust the program based on resident and staff feedback as necessary, including adding more recycling bins, improving signage, moving recycling and/or trash containers.
Congratulations, you have set up a recycling program!