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Best practices for setting up commercial recycling and composting programs

Setting up your recycling and composting programs is easier than you think. Follow these best practices to set your building up for success.

Place bins in convenient areas

Food and yard waste bins, and recycling bins, should be as convenient as garbage bins.

Ensure the area is well lit and tidy. Use similar types of bins for storing food and yard waste and for recycling materials. Consistency between the bins reduces confusion about what goes where.

If the garbage and food and yard waste bins are not in the same area, place a garbage container next to the food and yard waste bins. This helps reduce contamination as residents have an opportunity to properly dispose of materials.

Tell your tenants about the diversion programs

You can provide each unit with an information package that explains the following:

  • What can and cannot be put in food and yard waste and recycling containers.
  • Why it is important to use the waste services provided.
  • How the items should be prepared and sorted.
  • Where the food and yard waste and recycling bins are located.

Use our letter templates to help inform your tenants about the services and changes.

For multi-family residents:

  • Recycling letter
  • Food and yard waste letter

For employees:

  • Recycling letter
  • Food and ya​rd waste letter

Use signs, labels and posters

  • Post labels about what goes in each bin at eye level or on the front of each bin. Put signs in common areas (e.g. lobby, mailbox room, elevators, laundry and recycling rooms).
  • Consider laminating or covering signs and posters with plexi-glass to keep them clean.

Download our posters and brochures for your tenants:

Train your on-site staff about the ins and outs of your program

If you have on-site staff such as maintenance staff or a property manager, ensure they are aware of the diversion programs so they can help answer questions from tenants and point out problems. Key information to pass along may include:

  • Where the collection bins are located.
  • What can and cannot be put in the bins.
  • How tenants should prepare materials for food and yard waste and recycling.
  • How to resolve common problems.
  • Where to get more information.

Provide regular reminders to tenants

Well informed residents will reduce issues and lead to better use of the food and yard waste and recycling opportunities in your building.

Keep residents up to speed by providing them with regular updates. In condominiums, consider adding food and yard waste, as well as recycling, as a standing agenda item.

For more tips and information, please see The City's general multi-family resources and business resources.