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The Ins and Outs of Apartment Recycling

written by: •edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 7/6/2011

It's hard to recycle at the apartment, especially if you live upstairs. You don't enjoy curbside pick-up like your house dweller counterparts, and often it's inconvenient to store and transport your waste to a recycling center.

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    Why There Isn't Recycling

    Recycling has traditionally been cost prohibited for apartment managers. Not only is there no staging point for collecting the waste, you also must pay a waste management company to collect the materials. This, in turn, causes a hike in rent rates, something apartment managers shudder to do because it kicks them out of competition when it comes to recruiting new apartment dwellers. However, as green living becomes more popular, more and more apartment dwellers and managers are seeking a solution to this puzzle. The truth is, there are many residents who wouldn't mind a higher rent if it meant they could recycle.

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    What Other Cities Are Doing

    Cities throughout the United States are getting people together in their communities to discuss the issue. This includes apartment management, public officials, residents, solid waste and recycling companies, and anyone else who has a stake in apartment recycling. Some of these cities have move forward with pilot recycling programs, which will allow decision makers to analyze the cause and effects of having apartment recycling programs. These pilot programs are initially starting in the smaller complexes. Communities that are exploring or practiving apartment recycling include San Antonio, St. Croix County, Wisconson, the State of California, Fprt Thomas, Kentucky, Seattle, and St. Paul.

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    What You Can Do

    • Find other residents in your neighborhood who are interested in apartment complex recycling programs, and form an alliance. Circulate a petition throughout your complex for support, and eventually approach your apartment manager in a nonconfrontational way. In addition, get in touch with your local government and public officials.
    • In the meantime, research places in your neighbohood where you can take the waste you collect. Purchase bins to place in your home and begin to sort out the waste. Pick a day a week for each material, and take it out to the recycling center when the appropriate time comes. Plan your routes to be the most efficient, for example, take your paper recycling when you know you will be passing that bin for another errand.
    • Take it slow if , fo example, recycling paper, plastic, cardboard and cans is too daunting. Simply pick one or two products to recycle, and perhaps hold off on the rest until you live in a home or your apartment adopts a recycling program.