6 Ways Landlords Can Encourage Their Tenants to Recycle
You’re committed to doing your part for the environment. You conserve water, turn out the lights when you leave a room, limit your driving, and turn down your thermostat in the winter.
Now, you want to translate that environmentally friendly spirit into your professional life as a landlord or property manager. After all, if you can make small strides with your own personal conservation efforts, how much bigger an impact could you have getting more people on board?
Here are 6 ways you can encourage your tenants to recycle at your properties:
1. Start an On-Site Program
One of the best ways to get as many people on board as possible is to make recycling a group effort. Starting an on-site recycling program at your building is a great way to get your tenants excited and ready to participate.
Arrange for separate bins in the laundry room or another common area so tenants can easily sort their recycling and don’t have to haul it off themselves. Also either make sure your city will come pick up the recyclables for your properties or hire in a private company to do it for you.
Post signs reminding everyone when recycling is picked up and where to put their private recyclables. Send updates with rent invoices, and send occasional reminders or updates, such as how much was recycled the previous month through Sugu's messaging system.
For older tenants or those who may be disabled, consider designating someone on your staff to go around to their apartments on a weekly basis to pick up their recyclables. Be sure they know they can always call the office for an extra pickup if they need more frequent service. You want everyone to participate in your recycling program, but you don’t want anyone injured doing so!
2. Provide Proper Containers
Part of the barrier to getting your tenants to recycle reliably is giving them the tools necessary.
Purchase or rent sturdy recycling bins large enough to hold a few days’ worth of general recyclables - paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum - for a family of four. Distribute one to each tenant, and write the containers into your leases as part of the property that must remain with the apartment or home.
Make sure the containers you get can easily be cleaned, as spills from the recyclables will happen, and you don’t want your tenants to not be able to clean them up.
If you have older tenants, consider purchasing smaller, easier-to-maneuver containers for them. They will be more likely to use them if they aren’t going to take up as much space or prove to be a tripping hazard.
3. Ask for Feedback
The best recycling program is one that works for your tenants.
Once you’ve got a system in place, create a way for them to provide feedback on your recycling program. Whether you ask them to call the office, send an email, or include a note with their rent payment, soliciting input on what’s working, what isn’t, and how the program could be better is the best way to ensure that you have prolonged participation.
When you get a suggestion, really take it to heart and evaluate how you can incorporate it to
make your program better.
You may think you thought of everything before rolling out your program, but your tenants may have some great ideas that can really improve everything.
4. Make It Fun
Everything’s better when it’s fun, right?
By introducing this extra element into your property-wide recycling efforts, your tenants will be more likely to get on board quickly and support the program. Before your recycling program officially starts, host an eco-friendly party where you’ll hand out the recycling containers and give some information on the program.
Offer fun family activities, such as recycled paper arts and crafts, that go along with your recycling and environmentally friendly theme. Provide refreshments and, if possible, make sure all serving utensils such as paper plates and napkins, are made from recycled paper.
Don’t forget to have a few recycling bins on hand for everyone’s soda cans and water bottles!
If your tenants don’t know the basics of your recycling program - what can and cannot be recycled, where they should put their recyclables, and when pickup is each week - they’re not going to participate.
Starting a few weeks before you roll out your program, offer frequent announcements and updates with this information.
Post fliers in the hallways, print information on rent invoices, and create postings on your property-wide message boards if you have them. Include the same information every time, in easy-to-read fonts.
Once the program is in progress, provide occasional reminders of the specifics for new tenants or people who may have forgotten.
6. Make It Convenient
While getting a recycling bin into every unit that you manage is important to your recycling program’s success, so is making sure that it’s convenient when people aren’t in their apartments.
What happens if someone is heading to a common area and has a soda can they’ve just finished? The likelihood that they’re going to carry that can back to their apartment to put in the recycling bin is low; instead, it will end up in the garbage. And if you have a common area that your tenants can use for parties, meetings, or other gatherings, the possibility of things that should get recycled being thrown away goes up.
Strategically place recycling bins around your properties, including in community rooms, the laundry room, the gym, or out near the playground. Dedicate someone to check and empty these bins regularly to keep things clean.
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