Recycling Programs

For a recycling program to be successful, it must be easy for occupants to participate. A recycling bin should be issued for each residential unit (for very small units, a bin in a common trash room is an alternative) and placed in all common areas (such as laundry rooms and community kitchens), as well as janitors' closets. An easily accessible bin also should be placed in the parking area. All recycling bins in the building should be washed out often to remove sticky residues that might attract pests.

Property management should educate both maintenance staff and residents about the building's recycling program and specific procedures—which types of materials are and are not accepted by the local recycling program, and which materials need to be rinsed and separated. This information should be posted in trash or recycling areas and on recycling bins, and should be provided in the resident manual. If staff or residents are not participating in the recycling program or are recycling improperly, the owner or


• Avoid purchasing disposable materials when possible. For example, use reusable cloths rather than paper towels.

• Select and request items with less packaging, or purchase items in bulk quantities or in concentrate. Avoid products with unnecessary packaging, such as individually wrapped items.

• Select products with recycled content (e.g., paper and office products, furniture, etc.).

• Select products that are recyclable, such as carpet made of nylon 6, whenever possible.

• Order from suppliers that will take back surplus materials.


Many major carpet manufacturers now have carpet take-back programs. Some, including Collins & Aikman/C&A Floor coverings, will take any manufacturer's carpet back and recycle it into new carpet. There is often a fee associated with having carpet recycled, though it could be less than what it would cost to dump the material in a landfill. According to the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), the cost is often 5 cents to 25 cents per pound of old carpet (carpet typically weighs about 4 to 5 pounds per square yard). The cost is partly determined by the proximity of the carpet to recycling facilities, and by the type of fiber.

building manager should consider creating an incentive program to reward individuals who recycle properly and regularly.

Some municipalities distribute bins for compost (food waste) or yard waste and offer curbside pickup for those materials. If this service is available in the project area, consider instituting a program to collect these materials as well. Even if the property manager feels it would be difficult to get residents to collect their food waste or that doing so would be problematic from a pest control perspective, it is relatively easy to collect landscape trimmings and compostable food waste from a common kitchen area.

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