Working with a Commercial Hauler
If you are a landlord you need to provide a collection system for your tenants. Contact your hauler about helping you collect recyclables at your building or complex. The collection system should be easy and convenient. If residents currently bring their trash outside to carts or a dumpster, designing a similar system for recycling may make sense.
Make sure recycling carts, barrels or dumpsters are well marked and easy to understand. Consider developing labels and signs in multiple languages if English is not the first language of your tenants and/or neighbors.
Commercial haulers or collectors bring their recyclables to specific processing facilities. Depending on the facility, the hauler may offer you a collection program that is ‘dual-stream collection’ where you put your bottles and cans (usually glass, plastic and metal) in one container and your paper (usually cardboard, boxboard, junk mail and magazines) in a different container. A third container would be just for trash or non-recyclables. Follow recycling guidelines of what can and cannot be recycled from your hauler.
Your hauler may also offer you ‘single stream collection’ where you can put your recyclable bottles, cans and paper all in the same bin. With a single stream collection program all your recyclables are combined together in one bin. Your second container is for trash or non-recyclables. A single-stream collection program can be helpful when there is limited space, however you need to make sure your neighbors and/or tenants understand the bin is for combined recyclables – not recyclables and trash.
Recycling collection strategies vary depending on the building size, number of units or apartments in your building and how you manage your trash now. There is no single formula for creating the “best” recycling system; buildings around the country are constantly establishing their own successful rules and practices. However, a few characteristics are common amongst multi-family buildings with the highest recycling rates.
In general, it is important to consider a few key things when setting up a recycling program:
In a multi-family residence or condominium complex, there is a greater opportunity for people to get involved and ensure that their building community is recycling. Residents have the power to organize or ask for better recycling systems in their building and can easily help landlords, building owners, or maintenance staff successfully implement a program. One key to a successful and efficient multi-family recycling program is to ensure the cooperation and enthusiasm of residents and landlords, through education, outreach, and awareness.
Most multi-family buildings encounter similar challenges when planning and implementing recycling programs. Since every multi-family unit is different, buildings will also have specific challenges that are of greater concern than others. The following lists some of the biggest barriers to creating a successful multi-family recycling program:
Solid Waste & Recycling Hauler Resources (CT DEEP)
Business Recycling Assistance (CT DEEP)
Recycling…It’s the Law! (CT DEEP)
Municipal Resource Recycling Center (CT DEEP)
What Do I Do With…? (CT DEEP)
Household Hazardous Waste Collection (CT DEEP)
E-Waste (CT DEEP)
CT DEEP Recycling Program FAQ’s Who is responsible for providing recycling services to apartment buildings, condominium complexes and small businesses?
Multi-unit Residential Recycling 5 Step Process (City of Chicago) Guidelines in 5 steps for improving or starting a recycling program in apartment buildings in Chicago.
Building Multi-Family Recycling Programs in Georgia (Georgia Recycling Coalition et al, 2010) – Toolkit to assist in providing the basic knowledge for implementing recycling programs in Georgia for all shapes and sizes of multi-family residential buildings.
Multi-family Recycling: A National Study (EPA, November 2001) A study conducted by the EPA to examine the reach of multi-family recycling in the United States, and determine factors associated with successful programs. The report defines multi-family recycling and offers useful information about organization, costs, measuring success, elements of successful programs, and lessons learned.
Best Practices in Multi-family (Apartment) Recycling Report (Eureka Recycling, June 2004) A study that analyzes common problem areas of multi-family recycling programs, including program design, management involvement, building logistics, contamination, and outreach strategies.
We Want It! (Toronto) A recycling ad campaign aimed at residents of multi-family and apartment complexes in Toronto.
Complex Recycling Issues – Strategies for Record-Setting Waste Reduction and Multi-Family Dwellings (EPA)
Exploring Multi-family Recycling: Tools for the Voyage (Eureka Recycling, 2004) – Guide to creating a multi-family recycling program, includes overview, foundation, design, structure, outreach, management, and problem solving.
Multi-family Recycling Toolkit (Eureka Recycling) – Set of resources developed by the Eureka Recycling organization to supplement their handbook/guide. Website includes download links for signs, templates, worksheets, notices, images, translations, etc.
Valley apartments go green with recycling (Las Vegas Sun article) - Retirement community in Los Vegas creates a successful recycling program for its residents
Multi-family Recycling: Barriers and Best Practices (MA DEP, November 2002) – Summarizes the most commonly stated complaints about starting a multi-family recycling program, from the perspective of each individual involved addressing the actions of other participants (e.g. Building owners/managers, residents, communities, haulers).
Questions may be directed to the DEEP Recycling Program at (860) 424-3366. Business hours are between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except State holidays.
Disclaimer: The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) maintains the content on this web site to enhance public access to information and facilitate understanding of waste reduction, reuse and recycling. The DEEP is not recommending these resources over any others and recognizes these represent only a partial listing of resources on this subject.
Content Last Updated February 13, 2013