Multi-Family Recycling Toolkit Provides Support to Landlords and Residents to Improve Recycling Efforts

Multi-family recycling toolkitMost people support the concepts of recycling and waste reduction. They understand the value of keeping our garbage out of landfills whenever possible. That ‘buy-in’ from residents of the region is crucial to achieving Metro Vancouver’s recycling goal of 80% by 2020. But for apartment building managers, landlords, and residents of multi-unit buildings, moving from good intentions to concrete actions can present real challenges. Metro Vancouver’s Multi-Family Recycling Toolkit is helping them find solutions.

Toolkit Makes Finding Answers Easier

With 21 municipalities in the region, each at a different stage in their recycling programs, and a wide variety of multi-family buildings, from small apartment complexes to residential towers, it can be challenging for landlords and property managers to find correct answers to important questions – such as how many food scraps bins their building is likely to need. To make it easier, Metro Vancouver has created the Multi-Family Recycling Toolkit, a collection of resources for promoting and implementing recycling efforts in multi-family buildings.

Evidence-based Approach

Mayor Malcolm Brodie“One of the strengths of the toolkit is in the evidence-based approach we took in its development,” says Metro Vancouver Director and Zero Waste Committee Chair Malcolm Brodie. “We took a careful look at what works when it comes to improving recycling efforts in multi-family settings, and embraced the proven strategies as the cornerstones of our efforts.”

Taking Out the Guesswork

The Multi-Family Recycling Toolkit helps those responsible for managing the waste, such as property managers and waste haulers, with an online questionnaire to help them determine their needs. The user inputs key data such as their municipality, the number of units in the building, and current status of their existing recycling efforts. The Toolkit then takes that information and automatically calculates the number and types of bins they will need for their property. Because the Toolkit can deliver customized recommendations for individual buildings, it takes the guesswork out of determining the waste-handling resources required for an effective recycling program. So far, it’s a hit with those who have used it.

david hutniak“Many LandlordBC members manage multiple buildings in different cities in Metro,” said David Hutniak, CEO of LandlordBC. “Having one online resource for educational materials to share with residents saves building managers time and reducing garbage at their sites by improving recycling ultimately saves them money.”

Support Materials Promote Recycling Efforts

However, the Toolkit is more than just a way to calculate how many blue boxes and dumpsters are needed. Professionally designed posters and signage to assist residents in the correct recycling practices makes it easy to ensure the appropriate materials end up in the right bin. It also goes another step, offering resources for motivated residents to take on a leadership role promoting recycling in their building.

“Our Green Team here at Panorama Place, a West End high-rise, frequently uses the Metro Van Recycling Website as a resource,” says Jill Schroder of the Panorama Place Green Team.  “The site really has all the information gathered in one place.  And it’s easy to navigate, so you can find what you need.  We cite it on our building website, and tell new residents to check the site out if they have questions.” That feature is a crucial element according to Brodie.

Creating Champions Fosters Commitment

“Creating champions within the community of a multi-family building makes a huge difference to the effectiveness of the program. We were hearing that many people felt isolated, operating under the impression they were the only ones who were committed to these waste reduction efforts. The Toolkit highlights ways to foster a sense of stewardship among neighbours within the building and positions recycling as a ‘team’ effort where everyone can pitch in to be part of the solution.”

To use the Metro Vancouver’s Multi-Family Recycling Toolkit, please visit:

Check out our Video Gallery and visit the Metro Vancouver website
to learn more about our programs and initiatives, such as the monthly
Sustainability Community Breakfasts and the 2015 Zero Waste Conference.

Leave a Reply