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Go Green & Save Green by Starting an On-Site Recycling Program

Green living is becoming a highly desirable commodity for young renters. To attract millennial and generation Z applicants and increase retention, consider opportunities to bring your tenants more green options whenever they present themselves.


One inexpensive way to encourage your tenants’ commitment to an eco-friendly lifestyle, is through the incorporation of an onsite recycling program.

While drop-off stations are available for all city dwellers, this inconvenience is often the number one reason that people do not choose to recycle. Historically, multifamily dwellings weren’t designed with any thought of residents’ potential recycling needs, and multifamily dwellings lend necessitate a need work with a private waste management company due the size and layout of the dwelling. This lack of pre-planning for the disposal of items besides refuse can make it difficult for tenants to recycle.


While these obstacles might be in place, there are significant benefits for multifamily dwellings that require that their building management provides recycling opportunities, by developing programs that encourage resident and management recycling, and by providing assistance with program design and education. Beyond these actions protecting the environment and setting your dwelling up with an eco-friendly reputation, some state and local laws actually require multi-family homes to offer on-site recycling based on their minimum number of units.


Benefits of on Onsite Recycling Program:


Beyond simply helping the environment and responding to the newest generation of renters’ wants, there is another incentive for managers and owners to start an onsite program--financial savings!


Often, solid waste costs are reduced if resident recycles enough material to decrease the dumpster container size or minimize its collection frequency. Many haulers will collect the equal volume of recycling at a reduced cost than that of trash.


Encouraging Your Renters to Get on Board:


A successful onsite recycling program may begin with implementation from management, but its key component is continual participation from the renters themselves. No savings will be had if your tenants are not fully on board with the program and avoid throwing recyclable materials into the garbage. The keys are to make the new program simple and convenient, as well as, provide ample education to your tenants upon startup, move-in, and send annual reminders with appropriate information regarding your waste management’s guidelines on recyclable materials. 


Ensure that you locate your recycling containers next to the garbage, this makes it simple for your residents to place items in the appropriate bins without any additional hassle. Don’t forget to place smaller recycling bins in high traffic areas like your entryway, lounge spaces, and mail area. Invest in small bins for every unit so renters can easily separate their recyclable materials in-home.


Moreover, upon move-in, provide residents with a laminated copy of recycling guidelines. Educate your tenants on acceptable recyclable materials and the conditions that must be met before dispensing them into the bins (for instance, food containers must be properly rinsed). Annually send out this information in your tenant newsletter, just in case any residents misplaced their sheet or forgot the information.


Outside of these specific techniques, it can truly depend on your renters whether you need or desire to increase participation through other means. Some property owners, for instance, have found success through placing recycling requirements within their lease agreement, ensuring that the tenant will participate or face a fine. Other properties find that simply creating recycling contests within their residency produces the desired results.


Regardless, be sure that your managers and owners are consistently encouraging your tenants to participate in the program by educating renters and asking how the program could best serve their needs.


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