Welcome to the official blog of Block Real Estate Services, LLC (BRES). BRES seeks to offer insight and news concerning commercial real estate, financial investments, construction and development of the 212 communities we serve locally and nationally.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Creating A Successful Multifamily Recycling Program

Creating A Successful Multifamily Recycling Program
Getting buy-in from residents for a multifamily recycling program is a challenge for every property management company and private hauler. Greater individual success in these recycling efforts come from greater support and structure within the community encouraging such action. This week, Block Multifamily Group (BMG) VP of BMG, Justin Larson, presents at the Waste Expo Conference about how his team approach multifamily recycling programs. Here are some ingredients for Justin's recipe for a successful multifamily recycling program:

Know Why It's Important
Becoming an advocate for recycling in multifamily is good for the environment...and the bottom line. In a case study that Justin shows during his presentation, he shares that implementing a recycling program at one of the BMG properties has resulted in reduced trash pick ups (from 3 to 2 per week). This adds up in monthly savings of $483 and yearly savings of $5,796. Justin also points out the need for a greater focus on recycling in multifamily also addresses a need for space -

  • 32% of US residents rent for a total of 94,495,000 renters (NMHC, 2012) 
  • 134 glass bottles per person are thrown away each year (Waste360) 
  • And this results in 1.262 billion bottles  per year being hauled from rental units
Unless there is extra receptacle space, there is no place in an apartment to store these glass bottles. Facilitating a recycling program is beneficial to your renters and increases the amount of waste diverted from the landfill. Last but not least, this kind of program is a high demand amenity for multifamily and can result in greater resident attraction and retention.

Creating A Successful Multifamily Recycling Program
Educating your residents is key to ensuring resident participation, and the ultimate success of your multifamily recycling program. Justin's pointers for educational materials are:

  • Keep it simple - don't get into the details, keep it big picture. 
  • Make it easy to read - format the information as you would a Tweet, keep it short and to the point. 
  • Pictures - kids like them...adults need them!
Include educational materials in move-in packets and continue to display prominently and clearly on trash receptacles and in common areas so that this is reinforced in residents' daily life. 

The rule of thumb is 20 feet. If your residents have to walk more than 20 feet to take out the trash, it becomes inconvenient, tedious and unpleasant. Make trash and recycling in a shared enclosure and offer multiple locations across the complex to make it convenient for residents to drop off their trash and recycling. Having management go the extra measure to make a recycling program accommodating encourages resident participation and retention.

When the resident community is educated and the program is made accessible to their daily lives, a culture that supports recycling flourishes down to the individual member. This is demonstrated in this BMG video:

Waste Expo Conference

Justin will be presenting on April 24th at Waste Expo about how his team created a successful multifamily recycling program and worked with their municipality’s private hauler to educate their residents while reducing landfill waste. Follow the conference tweets using #WasteExpo and follow Justin's experience at Waste Expo at @JustinLarsonBMG

Justin Larson - Block Multifamily Group

Justin Larson
Vice President
Block Multifamily Group

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