Collection

Multi-Residential Recycling

The multi-residential (MR) recycling sector is complex. The challenge of addressing variations in infrastructure, oversight, and demographics can contribute to high blue box contamination and low resident participation rates. With its potential for great diversion, making efforts to address this complexity is well worth municipal attention.

Moderated by CIF’s Multi-Residential Working Group, this section provides tools, research, and best practices to improve diversion rates, decrease contamination rates, and reduce costs specific to MR Blue Box recycling.

Best Practices
Research

Visit York University’s Waste Wiki to access over 4000 – and climbing – studies on waste, including:


CIF Funded Multi-Res Projects

The following list of CIF project reports has been organized into the various areas of the multi-residential (MR) recycling sector. Read about the successes, challenges and strategies of your municipal peers:

Best Practices

Most MR reports feature projects that implement best practices. These are to:

  • Build and maintain a database of all MR properties
  • Benchmark performance and monitor on a regular basis
  • Provide adequate recycling bin capacity
  • Provide promotion and education materials

Below is a sampling of best practices projects. For others, search the main CIF Reports page.

2013 – Implementing Best Practices – City of Barrie

In this best practices initiative, the City of Barrie: increased container space per building to meet the recommended ratio of 1 cart for every 7 units; increased in-unit storage capacity, and; ensured educational material was received by residents through hand delivery. The report provides many details of Barrie’s multi-residential sector, including data on barriers to recycling. Overall, this program boosted the municipality’s well-established MR program by 20% (tonnage).

2013 – Implementing Best Practices – Peel Region

Over a timespan of 5 years, Peel Region boosted its MR program by introducing numerous enhancement initiatives within the 4 recommended MR best practices. These included: piloting on-board weigh scales for improved monitoring, converting 283 buildings to front-end collection, and adding 1000 front-end bins to its service, extensive resident engagement through 95 lobby displays. Capacity was more than doubled, and there was an overall increase in recycling generation, capture and diversion rates; most notably at buildings that switched to front-end bins. With this improvement, Peel reduced its MR collection costs by 41%.

2015 – Implementing Best Practices – City of Cornwall

Alongside the implementation of standard best practices (creating and maintaining a database, benchmarking and monitoring, improving bin capacity, and providing P&E materials), the City of Cornwall’s MR initiative increased collection frequency, went to a single stream program, increased materials accepted, and focused on plastic packaging P&E. In addition, Cornwall uses a rebate system for property managers to encourage recycling participation. Over the course of this initiative, the municipality increased recycling capacity by 32% and the number of units participating by 72.5%.

Operations

2013 – Container Density Factors

This report outlines the method and variables considered in the development of a tool to assist municipalities in benchmarking and measuring multi-residential recyclables in the absence of weight scale data (per building and overall).

2014 – Best Practices and Capacity Increase Program – City of London

This report features a campaign delivered by the City of London that increased recycling service by 4656 units (to a total of 49,324) and increased overall container capacity. Along with the standard best practice implementation, London applied such strategies as only providing P&E, in-unit bags and workshops to property managers that committed to providing a minimum container capacity at 35 litres per unit. Total recycling capacity was expanded by 60% (1,307,160 litres to 2,163,616 litres).

2014 – Multi-Residential Recycling: Implementing Best Practices – Region of Waterloo

In this Region of Waterloo project, the following best practices were implemented: conducting site visits to assess recycling performance (benchmarking); providing adequate bin capacity; identifying the overall program recycling rate, and distributing new promotion and education materials. The municipality distributed almost 1000 carts, increasing average MR capacity by 4 litres/household; recycling increased by 6%. This report lists numerous operational, administrative, and educational multi-residential recycling recommendations.

2012 – TCHC Recycling Room Pilot Project – City of Toronto

Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) delivered an initiative to increase recycling rates in some of its high-rise buildings. At project onset, diversion was 10-15% and recycling carts were kept outside. The project added recycling rooms to 25 TCHC buildings to increase blue box diversion to 20% or higher, and create a more accessible space for tenants. Weight-based monitoring and superintendent reporting was used to measure progress.

2016 – Multi-Residential Cart Recycling Program – Township of Alfred and Plantagenet

For this project, the Township of Alfred and Plantagenet launched a cart service program to address broad inconsistencies – in collection containers and materials collected – in its MR sector. To create a uniform program for its 600 MR households, staff introduced 95-gallon carts across the board and initiated a single-stream program consistent with its curbside collection. The cart program was a success and diversion rate increased by more than 20% from 2015 to 2016.

2011 – Multi-Residential Containers – Quinte Waste Solutions

Quinte Waste Solutions implemented best practices at its multi-residential buildings, which service approximately 5,000 households. This project included adding new and replacing damaged recycling carts, re-labelling carts and distributing new promotion and education materials to tenants and building staff, and adding new customized bins for cardboard and glass.

Promotion and Education

2011 – Multi-Residential Containers – Quinte Waste Solutions

Quinte Waste Solutions implemented best practices at its multi-residential buildings, which service approximately 5,000 households. This project included adding new and replacing damaged recycling carts, re-labelling carts and distributing new promotion and education materials to tenants and building staff, and adding new customized bins for cardboard and glass.

2013 – Multi-Residential Superintendent and Manager Workshops – Region of Niagara

In an effort to reach council’s goal of 65% diversion, Niagara Region developed a Multi-Residential Waste Reduction Workshop for superintendents and property managers. The workshop was designed and hosted by staff in partnership with adult educator, Betty Muise. The goal was to teach superintendents and project managers about recycling so that they in turn support and educate their residents. There were 721 postcard invitations mailed out to representatives of the Region’s 600 serviced buildings; 22 attended the workshops. Evaluation provided insight regarding attendees’ initial level of recycling knowledge (low), opened up stakeholder dialogue, built relationships, and provided ideas for future initiatives. This report includes plenty of helpful information for those wishing to provide superintendent workshops, along with slides and P&E samples.

2016 – Multi-Residential Audits and Superintendent Training – City of Toronto

In this two-part project, the City of Toronto delivers a comprehensive series of waste composition studies to better understand its MR demographic, and pilots the CIF Recycling Workshop for Superintendents and Property Managers. The municipality, which provides waste management services to 4,500 buildings in a city where 55% dwellings are within multi-residential complexes, offered two half-day workshops where attendees were provided with knowledge, tools, resources and encouragement to increase diversion. The workshop was promoted via mailed and hand delivered invitation (2,100 in total), an advertisement in an industry magazine, and on the City’s website. In a post-workshop evaluation, a vast majority of the 39 attendees indicated the workshop was useful. The report includes recommendations to improve attendance.


CIF Connections Blog

The CIF Connections blog posts can provide meaningful insight into municipal peer experience in the multi-residential sector.