Tips for community waste management in your associationWith a growing focus on proper environmental stewardship, many HOAs are working toward implementing green initiatives. But getting there can be daunting. With so many programs and opportunities available for all of us to reduce, re-use and recycle, it’s hard to know where to begin.

An excellent community association management company can help you start with the basics: waste management, including recycling. In contrast to more involved measures like pursuing alternative energies, waste management can be fairly simple to implement.
These tips represent a series of small changes you can make that, together, add up to a significant difference for your community – and the planet. So to help your community become more environmentally friendly, here are several tips for effective and responsible waste management.
  1. Start smart. Sometimes reducing waste is a simple matter of buying products that are less wasteful themselves. Look for items that come in environmentally-friendly packaging, and choose to support companies that have embraced sustainable, planet-friendly practices. You can also elect to purchase items in bulk packaging, which will last longer and generate less waste.
  2. Don’t trash those electronics. E-waste is a growing problem, especially considering the amount of technology that all of us own, and the frequency with which many of us update our technology products. It’s better to recycle or donate old desktop computers, laptops, televisions, DVD and Blu-ray players, tablets and cell phones than it is to truck them to the landfill. Your local electronics store can point you toward drop-off locations for specific items, or there may be organizations in your city or town that specialize in giving outdated electronics a second lifecycle as a source for parts, or as a donated item. Or you can go to the Electronic Industries Alliance’s Consumer Education website for a breakdown of e-cycling programs by state – for more information, visit
  3. Look to your lawn. Composting those lawn clippings not only reduces waste, but it also creates a great source for healthier gardening. You can build your own composting bins, or many ready-made products are available as well. Talk to your local lawn maintenance company about your desire to start composting – many companies are amenable to the practice since it cuts down on their landfill fees.
  4. Remember to recycle. Almost anything is recyclable – even some things you think are not. Though there are too many to list here, recyclable products include compact fluorescent light bulbs, batteries, glass, aluminum cans, newspaper, office paper, cardboard, yard trimmings and tree clippings, used motor oil, food waste, appliances (refrigerators, washers, dryers, stoves, etc.) and even vehicle shells. The best community association management company can partner with you in maximizing your recycling efforts. For more information on what common home goods are recyclable, visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s website.
  5. Attend an event...or host one. Becoming part of the green community is a great way to find new ways to operate more sustainably and discover additional resources to help with your waste management efforts. Many cities and municipalities hold regular recycling events, and your local waste management and recycling companies are good community partners, too. A simple Google search is all it takes to find out what’s happening in your own part of the country. And if you’d like, you can always host a green event in your own community. Good community association management companies are adept at planning and marketing events, and they can help connect you with community partners that will help make your function a success, too. And think of it this way: when you host an event, you can take part in directly helping the planet, right from your neighborhood.
Remember, a global approach to a more sustainable planet really does start locally. Your community can play a role in preserving resources, reducing waste, and spreading the word about the importance of recycling – and a professional, experienced community association management company can help make it happen. To find out more, contact FirstService Residential, North America’s property management leader.
Tuesday August 19, 2014