How to start a recycling program in your communityIs your homeowners association considering starting a community recycling program? If so, bravo! Take a look at some of the benefits: conserving energy, saving water, preserving resources, reducing air pollution and saving landfill space. And did you know that in addition to helping the environment, recycling can also provide economic benefits as well? For example, it can reduce the costs of solid waste collection, transportation, and disposal.

If you’d like to give it a go and don’t know how to begin, a good property management company can provide tips and advice. If your association is professionally managed, your property management team can work with you to guide you through the process and ensure you comply with all local legislation and restrictions.

But to get you started, here are some tips and considerations to help your association plan and implement a successful community recycling program.
  1. Build a team.

    The first step to developing a successful community recycling program is to create a committee of dedicated volunteers to research and oversee all of the necessary components. This can include deciding which materials to recycle, selecting and distributing collection bins, interviewing and selecting a recycling vendor and other duties.

    Good places to start include contacting your local county or city recycling coordinator, taking to local waste haulers and conducting online research under such keywords as “recycling,” “scrap metal,” “newspaper recycling” and other relevant terms.

    Your property management team can work with your committee and provide guidance regarding vendors, negotiations, contracts and budgets. They can also leverage their community relationships to potentially partner with another nearby community to share costs.  In addition, your management company can provide information about any state or local legislation, including restrictions on recycling yard waste or hazardous materials, to ensure compliance.

    After your committee compiles all of the information, they can make suggestions to their board and board members. Which leads us to…
  2. Develop a plan

    Using your committee’s recommendations your association needs to create a recycling plan. Include such considerations as which materials you wish to recycle, how residents can participate, will there be a central drop-off location for recyclables, or will they be picked up – and how often.
  3. What will you recycle?

    What materials should your community recycle? To best serve your residents, conduct a waste assessment to determine which recyclables your community frequently discards. Common recyclable materials include newspapers, magazines, telephone directories, cardboard, food waste glass containers, plastic and aluminum cans.  After you determine the most likely recyclables for your community, your committee or property management team should research the potential markets for recyclables in your area, as well as potential haulers. Using this information, you can zero in on the right materials to include in your recycling plan.
  4. Let residents know.

    Once you have a plan in place, you must communicate it clearly to your residents. Let residents know the benefits of recycling and how they can participate, where to deposit their recyclables (or where and how often they will be picked up) and which materials are included – and just as important, which are not.

    You can communicate your plan through articles or notifications in your community newsletter, direct mail, email, flyers, notices posted in common areas, door hangers and other printed materials.  Your community may also have a virtual notification system, such as FirstService Residential’s Resident Alert system, to deliver messages to residents by email and phone.
Developing and implementing a community recycling program is beneficial for your community, your residents and the environment – a great way to feel good by doing good.  If you’d like more information about developing a community recycling plan, contact FirstService Residential.
Friday February 12, 2016