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How to Set Up an Apartment/Condominium Recycling Program

Implementing a recycling program at your apartment or condo complex is easy! Just follow these steps:

Photo of Recycling Dumpsters
  1. Establish your recycling potential

    • Find out how much trash is being collected at the complex. How many dumpsters of what size do you have? How often do they get collected?
    • Estimate the waste disposal cost savings when your complex starts to recycle.
    • Evaluate space options for recycling containers.

For free technical assistance, please call the Environmental Services Department at 858-694-7000.

Photo of Recycling Bins
  1. Design a user-friendly recycling program

    • Choose waste haulers based on their responsiveness. Start with the complex's current hauler or if your contract is expiring and/or your current hauler can't provide you with recycling services, consider a local recycler (PDF) or a different franchise hauler (PDF).
    • Select recycling bins and place them in areas that will minimize misuse or contamination. Always place recycling containers as close as possible to trash containers.
    • Residents can empty bins from inside their units into larger bins in common areas like laundry rooms or trash rooms.
    • To assist in your search for containers, here is a small list of vendors (PDF) of indoor and outdoor recycling containers. Please note that this list is not comprehensive and that the City of San Diego does not endorse the listed businesses.
    • Clearly identify recycling areas with large signs that include pictures of what can and can't be recycled.
    • Place information on bulletin boards and in newsletters.
    • Develop a collection plan. How many recycling dumpsters will you need? Can you replace some of your trash dumpsters with recycling dumpsters?
  2. Educate staff and promote the program

    • Evaluate the program often. Check for contamination to determine if more education is needed.
    • Provide updates on the program in complex newsletters and bulletin boards, so residents will know that their efforts are making a difference.
    • Submit a press release about your program to local media.
    • Apply for recognition for your complex's recycling efforts through the Environmental Services Department's Annual Business Recycling Award.

Remember, the more materials you recycle, the lower your trash collection costs.