Engage your tenants by boosting your building’s recycling program
Recycling programs are available in most areas across Ontario. Many areas, especially larger urban areas, also offer Green Bin programs for compostable waste. Both programs help to divert waste from landfills and can save housing providers
money on waste collection fees. To maximize participation in these programs, tenants need to be involved and engaged.
Because recycling is a communal activity, it’s difficult to determine whether individual tenants are complying with the building’s recycling policy. Instead, providers must rely on education and encouragement to get tenants to participate. Property managers should ensure that tenants know how recycling works in your building and what kinds of things can be recycled in your community.
When a tenant moves in, the recycling and garbage systems should be part of their tour of the building. If you have written information about recycling programs in your area, give it to tenants on move-in. If your building has a chute system or waste collection area, it’s helpful to post a visual chart showing which things should be put in the garbage, in the recycling, and in the organic waste bin.
The ONPHA Tenant Handbook also includes a section on garbage and recycling.
Our top tips for recycling success:
- Make it easy. Ensure recycling bins are easy to access, simple to use, clearly identified, and clean.
- Consider providing small recycling and organics bins or bags in each unit to encourage recycling.
- Provide a place in your building for tenants to bring batteries and electronic waste for safe disposal.
- Empower tenants by facilitating a green team to help keep their neighbours informed.
- Set a goal of having some recycling-related activity at least three times a year. It could be a table in the lobby with resources and examples of recyclable waste, a postering blitz, a section in the tenant newsletter, or letters to each tenant outlining waste diversion goals.
- If possible, post information about the amount of waste your building has diverted – it’s motivating for tenants to see that they’re making a difference in their community.
- Maintenance staff can also help. During annual inspections staff can see if the tenant has a recycling bin in the unit. If not you can help them get one and make sure they have information on what goes in each bin. If staff see that one type of recyclable waste is frequently in the garbage, maybe the tenants aren’t aware that it can be recycled.
Most regions or municipalities will have information you can post and distribute including posters, stickers, or collection calendars. You or your tenant group can make sure you always have enough to give to incoming tenants and for postering.