Implementing a Successful Recycling Program in Multifamily Properties

multifamily recycling

Effectively managing waste and reducing associated costs, considering both money and the environment, is a challenge for businesses. This is true for multifamily properties, where balancing comfortable living spaces with proper waste management is important.

By implementing eco-friendly practices and multifamily recycling programs, you can help the environment and attract residents who care about sustainability and are willing to pay for it. It is crucial to follow a strategic approach to cut down on waste costs in multifamily housing. This blog will discuss apartment recycling solutions for a clean environment.

Multifamily Waste Management

In homes where many families live together, the people who own or care for the place must do more to keep everything working well. One important thing is getting rid of garbage properly. The neighborhood looks safe and healthy when garbage and other wastes are managed well.

Depending on the city, these types of homes can have just a few units or even hundreds of them. Managing the garbage for so many people is a really big job. 

Multifamily Recycling Programs

Recycling is an easy way to help the environment by reducing the amount of garbage that goes to landfills and produces greenhouse gasses. However, people living in apartments (multifamily dwellings) often don’t recycle as much as those in houses. This is because apartment buildings weren’t originally designed for recycling, making it inconvenient for residents. Unlike houses where a uniform collection system can be set up, apartments vary in size and layout, so each multifamily property needs its own system, usually managed by private waste companies.

Keys to a Successful Apartment Recycling Program

Collaboration between waste management organizations and local governments can make multifamily recycling better. Successful recycling in these communities needs three key things: property managers who care, better facilities, and educating residents. 

1. The Four C’s

It comprises 4 important things, i.e., four Cs: convenience, clarity, capacity, and color. It means putting the right bins in the right spots with signs in the right languages. 

  1. Convenience: Ensure that recycling and trash bins are easily accessible for tenants in a way that’s equally convenient for everyone.
  2. Clarity: Put pictures on bins so people know which is for trash and which is for recycling. Also, show pictures of things that can be recycled in the recycling bin.
  3. Capacity: Use big enough bins and make sure the garbage pickup service matches, so the recycling bins don’t get too full or spill over before the pickup day. When bins overflow, residents are unhappy, and important recyclables end up in landfills.
  4. Color: Use different colors for your recycling and garbage bins to make it easier for tenants to understand and follow.

2. Staff and Tenant Education

Successful recycling in multifamily properties goes beyond just providing bins and signs. It involves educating both building staff and residents to ensure consistent and proper use of recycling systems. There are toolkits available for property managers to implement the four Cs. 

This individualized approach is crucial for educating tenants and encouraging them to adopt and maintain proper recycling habits. 

How to Start a Recycling Program at Your Property

Even with challenges, communities can boost recycling in multifamily dwellings by:

  1. Asking building managers to offer recycling options
  2. Creating programs to motivate residents and management to recycle
  3. Offering help with designing programs and educating everyone involved

Owners and managers of apartments can make recycling easier for tenants by implementing a recycling program on the property. In some places, laws may even mandate multifamily dwelling owners to provide onsite recycling for a minimum number of units.

Recycling Program Benefits

  1. Save money by getting rid of trash: If you recycle, it costs less for both building owners and people living there to throw away their waste.
  2. Follow the recycling rules: Recycling helps multifamily apartments meet the recycling laws and rules that apply to these dwellings.
  3. Support local and state recycling goals: By recycling, you contribute to achieving the recycling targets set by your local and state authorities.
  4. Make recycling easier for everyone: Recycling in multifamily housing is becoming convenient, just like it has been for people living in single-family homes.
  5. Protect the environment: Recycling reduces the amount of waste going to landfills and helps make a positive impact on the environment.

Recycling can also reduce how much it costs to manage waste. For example, if people recycle more, the containers for trash can be smaller, or the collection doesn’t have to happen as often. 

Prioritize Convenience

  1. Recycling should be as easy as throwing away trash. Put recycling bins where garbage bins are to make it simple for tenants to recycle when they throw out their trash.
  2. Put recycling bins in shared spaces like the mail area and laundry room.
  3. Give each apartment a small bin that fits easily under the kitchen sink or in the pantry for convenient recycling.
  4. Success in multifamily dwelling recycling also depends on having easy-to-store collection containers.


In multifamily properties, making waste and recycling easy and affordable requires a smart and teamwork approach. Residents are willing to take on the challenge because it means they are positively impacting the planet with a better lifestyle.

Most people living in apartments think that eco-friendly communities are better for their health. And, a lot of home builders think that buyers are willing to pay extra for houses that are good for the environment.

To ensure multifamily properties stay an attractive place to live in the long run, having a cleaner and more cost-effective waste management solution is crucial. 

Trevor Henson

Trevor Henson is an experienced entrepreneur (10+ highly-successful start-ups) and property investor with a demonstrated history of building and leading teams in investment property management environments, maximizing returns for property owners, and optimizing properties through construction management and re-positioning. He…
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Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

To recycle in an apartment, start by separating recyclables like paper, plastic, and glass from your regular trash. Check with your building management for designated recycling bins and collection schedules.

Recycling structures include:

  • Mechanical recycling: Mechanical recycling is a widely adopted global method for repurposing waste, especially plastics sourced from industrial, domestic, or commercial disposals.
  • Energy recycling: Energy recycling is the process of converting plastics into thermal and electric energy. It optimizes space in densely populated cities, but demands substantial investment and public engagement.
  • Chemical recycling: Chemical recycling involves altering the chemical structures of plastics after reprocessing. The resulting product serves as raw material in various industries or as an input for manufacturing new plastic items.