While more people are living in apartments than ever before, getting them to use recycling services can prove to be challenging. A 2019 report by the NSW Auditor General found Sydney residents’ efforts to sort and recycle waste was hampered by inadequate waste storage facilities at new apartment blocks because developers hadn’t complied with approval conditions.
The report found apartment blocks often had insufficient facilities for the volume of waste generated, waste storage facilities that weren’t conveniently located and single garbage chutes that didn’t support waste separation.
But one Sydney local government, Hornsby Shire Council, is working with building managers and tenants to improve recycling in high density living spaces.
It developed its Apartment Living Recycling Program to assist residents of apartment buildings in improving the quantity and quality of recycling collected. Building/strata managers, owners’ corporations or residents can nominate their building to be part of the program. Participating buildings receive an initial recycling system assessment, recommendations on how to improve the system and assistance to implement recommendations, as well as free signage, educational material and recycling support.
Waverley Council in Sydney’s eastern suburbs is another local government area making inroads to improve tenant recycling levels.
More than 80 per cent of the council’s residents live in apartment buildings. The council states on its website that strata and building managers and engaged residents play an important role in ensuring the recycling is properly sorted, bulky waste is disposed of responsibly, and rubbish areas are hygienic in their buildings.
Its response has been to create a range of free resources that address the unique challenges of apartment buildings. These include a free recycling improvement program for apartment buildings with more than 20 units in a complex.
Top tips for building managers
Property service providerPica Group offers tips for building managers to encourage tenants to use recycling services. It starts with establishing an efficient system and good communications.
- Provide residents with waste disposal guidelines so residents know how to dispose of their garbage properly according to your strata scheme’s waste disposal system.
- Educate residents on ways to recycle/upcycle items.
- Follow through on the consequences of incorrect waste disposal.
- In large complexes, have additional bylaws outlining your waste management procedures.
- Provide a collection point for packaging of large products, such as electronics or moving boxes, especially if your building is new and numerous residents are moving in at the same time.
- Ensure the waste management area has enough bins and the correct balance of general and recycling waste options.
- Ensure your residents are aware of their rights to use the bulky goods collections that many local councils offer.
- Schedule an annual waste skip bin collection.