Best Practices…That’s a Wrap for Ottawa’s Multi-Res Promotion & Education

Convincing residents in multi-residential (MR) buildings to recycle is a challenge, getting them to recycle right can be even harder, but – as City of Ottawa staff have demonstrated, that doesn’t mean you want to stop trying.

The issue

In 2015, staff approached CIF with a proposal to try a novel approach to MR P&E. Based on Canada Post’s graffiti-resistant vinyl wraps on mailboxes, the concept was to replace bin stickers with full bin wraps to address three key persistent problems, including the need to:

  1. Boost recovery above the <20% status quo for the near 33% of Ottawa households who live in multi-residential buildings
  2. Attract more attention to messaging about what can be recycled and exactly where
  3. Discourage individuals from spray painting front end loaders (FEL) P&E stickers and reduce graffiti reduction efforts.
    Applying bin wraps for MR P&E in CIF Project 929

We’ve all seen vehicle wraps that adhere to cars and trucks with high resolution, high impact and weather resistant signage. In general … wraps are eye-catching and really work. City staff approached CIF with the idea to extend the bin-wrap concept to their FEL. The bins would provide a canvas for the City’s well-known recycling graphics and help residents understand that the bins set out by the City are for MR recycling.

The wraps are applied to two-yard bins for the pilot. They are priced at $400 to $500 per item with a waranteed lifespan of 10 years. It is expected that the price would drop substantially for a full scale rollout.

Measuring impacts is a critical aspect of this process. To that end, the City built in pre and post waste composition audits and bin weights.

Aiming for higher capture rates and lower residue

With this project, Ottawa staff have reminded us that solutions to some of our persistent challenges can be all around us and with a bit of ingenuity we can figure out how to apply them to Blue Box challenges. The solutions don’t always have to be costly: in this case the pilot project to wrap 50% of the City’s MR FEL bins and complete the audits is estimated at just over $80K of which CIF has provided $50,570.

For more information: please email Jessica Landry

Cracking the Code in CIF’s Multi-Residential Working Group

In the next little while, you can expect to hear more about tried and tested solutions to MR recycling issues. Since June, a group of about 10 municipal staff have been meeting monthly in a working group to share insights about best strategies to address the MR challenge and sharing materials and resources. Many of these are available now on our Pinterest boards, and before long, we’ll post all of this information in the Resources section of our website. For more information about the working group, please email Jessica Landry.