Don’t Throw It All Away

BC Homes – Don’t Throw It All Away:

Catherine Owen | May 14th, 2013


Awareness of the importance of recycling has been growing steadily in the Lower Mainland. Access to recycling facilities has risen since the 1990s, but condo and apartment owners are still at a disadvantage. Some buildings don’t offer recycling facilities. Others have limited options. While single-family homes achieved a 55 per cent diversion from the landfill in 2011, condominiums only saw a 16 per cent decrease in waste. The lack of recycling services means many residents will throw their garbage in the trash can instead, remarks Louise Schwarz of Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Challenge. But condo and apartment owners can make a difference.

Ensure Clarity

Owners may not know what can and can’t be recycled. Post a list by the recycling area specifying what product belongs in which clearly-labeled bin. A Metro Vancouver Banned-From-The-Garbage poster can be created from on-line resources. Educate yourself about what can be recycled in your building and what must be disposed of elsewhere. Few condominiums currently offer battery, Styrofoam, cardboard or electronics recycling, for instance, so these products must be dropped off at larger facilities.

Increase Efficiency

If recycling bins fill up quickly, then residents may not use them. A mess can also result. If there aren’t enough bins, and if there is room in the recycling area, ask whether more can be provided by calling the BC Recycling Council’s Hotline at 604-R-E-C-Y-C-L-E (604-732-9253). Once owners view recycling as a straightforward process, the number of recyclers will rise.

Offer Resources

Most buildings have a front lobby with a notice board. Post recycling collection days, types of recyclable products and recycling tips there. Let your neighbours know if you discover a new way of re-using a product or where they can find under the sink recycling bins. An increased sense of community in multi-family dwellings improves the likelihood that owners will recycle.