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How to Implement Recycling in a Multi-Family Building

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Get in the Green logoThe approach you take to implementing recycling in a multi-family environment will differ depending upon whether your building/complex is already built or not. New buildings that are in the design or construction phase will work with our Department of Sustainable Development to ensure that recycling is incorporated. Permits will not be issued unless the planned building or community is in compliance from the start.

Implementing recycling in an existing building or complex requires a different approach, especially when there are tenants already occupying the apartments. There are seven steps to implementing a recycling program in an existing multi-family environment. Our Get In the Green slide show is a downloadable presentation that provides additional details for these these steps.

Familiarize yourself with the requirements. Read the ordinance. Know your responsibilities. Contact our Solid Waste Coordinator at (954) 828-5054, or City of Fort Lauderdale Code Compliance if you have questions.

Learn about clean recycling. Once you understand why recycling matters and how to recycle you will see how important and easy it is. You will also understand how it can lower your property maintenance costs, and even increase income, in the future.

Determine how much recycling capacity your community needs. Start with what you know. How much garbage does your waste hauler charge you for each month? Your goal should be to convert 75% of that waste over to recycling. Use our Capacity Calculator to get specific about how much recycling you will need.

Multi-Family Recycling MailroomPlan container placement for convenience. To really encourage participation, it should be as easy for a resident to recycle as it is for him to throw away trash. So, if trash is collected through a chute or valet service, that should be your first choice for recycling. Start by asking your residents where the most convenient place would be for the recycling container. Most often it is alongside the garbage. Evaluate what this means for your property. Do you need containers on each floor next to the garbage chute? Should the containers be in the garage area? How about by the mail boxes or in the laundry rooms? Don't forget public areas like the pool, card rooms or lounges, community room kitchens, sports courts, visitor restrooms, valet stand, business centers, and of course your own leasing or management offices. Do your residents need staging containers, perhaps plastic baskets with handles, to make it easier to stage and carry the recyclables from their units to the dumpsters or chutes? Imagine you live in your own property. What would work for you? At a minimum, you need to ensure that no collection container is ever overflowing.  All containers, inside and out, must be kept in a safe location; well-maintained and clean; and watertight and able to withstand the elements. 

Contract with a licensed waste hauler. You can start by interviewing the hauler who already picks up your garbage, but you are not required to use them for recycling services. Weigh the pros and cons of having separate haulers. Which is more cost effective? Does having trucks from different companies work for your building(s)? Who will work with you to decrease your overall solid waste management expenses? Which hauler will help to provide educational materials and interior containers? These are some of the questions you should consider as you interview recycling haulers that are licensed to operate in Fort Lauderdale

Announce the program to your residents and generate excitement. It's likely that your tenants will be happy about the opportunity to recycle. But there's no harm in making it fun! At a minimum, you should aim to educate residents about the proper way to recycle. This helps reduce contamination and controls your fees. We recommend posting instructions in a visible are, including instructions in your property newsletter, covering the basics at a building meeting, and potentially distributing instructional materials that residents can keep. Be sure to let them know about our website! You can also consider contests, recycling events (such as book trades and "white elephant" sales), and having our Solid Waste Coordinator come to your HOA meeting. We can even do a special presentation for the children who live in your community. 

Monitor your success. Your hauler should provide you with data each billing period. We encourage you to monitor that information carefully and to track your progress towards overall waste reduction and towards a ratio of 75% recycling to 25% garbage. Let us know how you are doing by sharing your success story.

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