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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Setting Up A Multi-Family Recycling Program

The below information is intended for residents that reside in multi-family complexes (i.e. apartments, condominiums) and wish to start a recycling program or improve a current program. Tenants need consent of the property owner or management company to begin a recycling program and to ensure continued future success through the program. It may be help to view pages from other municipalities as well to glen useful information. 

Step 1: Evaluate current waste disposal and recycling potential

  • Contact management company or landlord
  • Enlist the support of other tenants to assist with organizing the effort.
  • Work with current waste hauler to determine how much waste is being collected, how often collection occurs, and how many dumpsters, including size, are present on the property
  • Note dumpsters of high use and current dumpster location and layout
  • Discuss waste and recycling disposal costs with hauler to determine potential cost or savings to tenants and contract end date. Begin seeking pricing from alternative haulers if desired. 

Step 2: Design recycling program

  •  Work with hauler to determine best locations for waste and recycling pick and collection with regards to current dumpster locations.
  • Select recycling bins or dumpsters that will minimize misuse and contamination.
  • Determine if tenants will be provided with a container for use inside their unit
  • Work with hauler to understand acceptable and unacceptable recycling for the program.
  • Clearly identify recycling areas with large signs both written and pictorially.

Step 3: Education

  • Education is a key component of any waste and recycling program. Be sure to provide information to each individual resident/tenant as well as in large gathering spaces, this may be in the form of a  magnet, welcome packet or other easily seen material.
  • Begin education early! Don’t wait until a month before the program begins, encourage residents/tenants to be part of the planning and implementation process.
  • Hold a kick-off to indicate when the program has started and provide opportunities for residents to ask questions.
  • Evaluate the program often to ensure continued participation and check for contamination.
  • Provide updates on program in tenant communications.
  • Ensure a system for new tenants to be educated on the program during periods of tenant turnover. 

Tips for Success

Incentivize recycling through competition or direct rewards. This approach can be integrated into an annual savings competition of electric and water to. Be creative!

 Mixed use developments can be tough to when both residences and commercial/businesses mix. Work with businesses to combine efforts where feasible, this may include a joint hauler contract for both residents and businesses. 


Weinstein, D. & C. Norton. October, 2014. Resources Guide and Tips for Implementing Recycling in Multifamily Residential Development. AICP. University of Louisville.