Are you wondering why your apartment or condominium complex doesn’t have recycling or curbside compost bins? Or are you finding a lot of trash in the bins and wondering what you can do about it?
Wonder no further – Eco-Cycle is here to help!
Apartment and condo-dwellers are underserved when it comes to recycling and other Zero Waste services. In Boulder, apartments and condos have the lowest rates of recycling and composting and send more than 23 million pounds of waste to the landfill every year.
Because these communities are considered independent businesses, apartment and condo property managers in Boulder County must subscribe to recycling and composting (as well as trash) services with a local hauler. They are exempt from city and county ordinances that require haulers to offer recycling services at no charge for single-family homes.
Eco-Cycle’s Apartment and Condo Outreach Program
In 2013, Eco-Cycle partnered with Boulder Housing Partners, Western Disposal, the City of Boulder, the City of Longmont, and Boulder County to address the needs of our multi-family unit housing complexes and increase their recycling and composting diversion rates, with great results. Learn more about the program >>
First, make sure services aren’t available. Walk around the property and check out each dumpster enclosure for recycling and/or composting bins. Oftentimes there are recycling bins in some enclosures and not others.
If you’re sure there’s no recycling service, talk to your Property Manager or Home Owners Association.
Ask if they have looked into providing recycling and/or composting service. What are the costs and barriers or concerns?
If your property manager or HOA is still not interested in providing recycling services, fill out the form below to get in touch with David at Eco-Cycle about how to overcome your community’s specific barriers. It is possible that your property could reduce its monthly waste hauling bill by diverting recyclables and compostables from the landfill. Depending upon your location, recycling pickup may be less expensive than your current trash service. Saving on the monthly bill will get people excited about your idea very quickly!
Get your neighbors involved. Ask your neighbors to sign a petition supporting adding recycling and composting to your community. You may need to show the property manager or the HOA that there is strong support for adding recycling and/or composting service. Download a sample petition.
Make a proposal. Present a proposal to your property manager or HOA board. You will need to do some research, contacting different haulers to get estimates and prepare a proposal of costs and services.
What to do if your complex has recycling and composting but you want to help your neighbors do better.
Post recycling and composting guidelines. If you have recycling and/or composting services at your apartment or condo complex but the bins are contaminated with stuff that isn’t recyclable or compostable, reach out to the hauler for guideline posters. If the hauler cannot provide guideline posters, feel free to download our recycling guidelines and/or curbside composting guidelines and post them within the enclosure and in common areas in your building(s).
Educate your neighbors about recycling and composting. Throw a party, cookout or potluck to talk to your neighbors about the importance of recycling and composting. Download our Why Recycle brochure and see our Why Compost webpage.
Distribute recycling and composting guidelines. Working with your property manager or HOA, send out a letter to residents notifying them your community is working toward Zero Waste and that you need everyone to participate. Provide recycling and composting guidelines. Include a list of resident contacts who can help with questions. Download a sample letter here.
Prepare a welcome letter for new residents. Inform them of the recycling and composting service. Download a sample welcome letter.
Check the recycling, composting and trash bins regularly. Notify your neighbors when there are non-recyclable or non-compostable items in the bins or recyclable and compostable items in the trash. Download and print our list of the “Dirty Dozen” most common contaminants.
You can also contact us to learn more about how to educate your multi-family community on how to recycle/compost properly.
In working with more than a dozen apartment and condo communities throughout Boulder County, we’ve encountered and helped residents overcome a variety of obstacles in getting closer to Zero Waste through recycling and curbside composting.
Fill out the form below to contact us about your specific needs, and we’ll be in touch soon!
In Boulder, apartments and condominiums have the lowest rates of recycling and composting, sending more than 23 million pounds of waste to the landfill every year.
In 2013, Eco-Cycle partnered with Boulder Housing Partners, Western Disposal, the City of Boulder, and Boulder County to address our historically underserved segment of Boulder County who reside in multi-family properties—apartments and condominiums.
We reached out to 634 units in 14 complexes including low-income housing, middle-class apartment rentals and owner-occupied condominiums, educating them on recycling and composting.
Real Success—Creating a new Zero Waste norm in Apartments and Condominiums
By conducting community-wide trainings, recruiting resident champions and speaking with residents through a door-to-door canvass, we helped residents at the 14 apartments and condominiums recycle and compost an additional 31 to 43 percent of their discards, diverting as high as 53 percent, well above the national average 14.6% (EPA 2001).
Apartment or Condominium August 2013 Diversion Rate August 2014 Diversion Rate Improvement
Appleridge Condominiums 37% 53% 43%
Kalmia Apartments 29% 41% 41%
>> Read our full report (coming soon)