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As I See It: Trash Talk (About Effective Recycling)


We in the RPBG feel honored that we have a close friend in the waste hauling industry – Scott Post, of Independent Recycling. Scott generously sponsors many RPBG events and charitable initiatives, including a recent project at Sullivan High School. 

In such a ‘rough and tumble’ industry, how great to have a reputable and fair industry representative like Scott. 

Last March, in a presentation made at our “Best Practices Seminar,’ Scott explained how single source recycling works, and important steps that owners can take to implement a recycling plan that goes beyond the bare minimum needed to comply with the City Recycling Ordinance and implement a plan that can really make a difference. This ordinance took effect on January 1, 2017.

The Recycling Ordinance requires that property owners and managers go beyond implementing a recycling program, but also educate residents on the “do’s and don’ts” of recycling.

Educating residents on recycling can be quite a task for property owners and managers to take on – a burden because we are already tasked with educating residents on a range of other important issues, such as the Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance, bed bugs, lead paint, carbon monoxide detectors, etc. As to recycling, many residents require constant reminders to get recycling right – knowing which plastics, cardboards and glass can go in the container, and what belongs in the regular trash.

Other oddball rules apply: for instance, many haulers require that we not simply toss plastic bags containing recycling into the container – rather, we need to dump the loose contents into the container and toss the plastic bag in the regular container.

Did you forget to properly wash food residue from glass and plastic containers? Bad idea, as food particles can and will contaminate an entire dumpster load of recyclables.

Which brings to mind a question: as good as it might feel to many of us to be taking steps to recycle, does all of this effort and its added cost genuinely make a difference?

Scott’s assistant, Keisha Glover, who specializes on recycling, explained the current trends in recycling. They are not promising. China – previously the world leader in purchasing our recycling waste – has started to enforce more rigorous standards brought on by the huge volume of contaminated waste they receive. (A landmark documentary called Plastic China apparently caused China to tighten its standards.) I encourage folks to read Keisha’s email explaining today’s challenges in the recycling industry by clicking here.

Bottom line: the world market for recycling waste has diminished considerably. This is due, in large part, to greater scrutiny by the Chinese who are rejecting contaminated recycled goods as unfit for recycling. The challenge – faced by the waste hauling industry, property owners and condo associations, and residents – is to take the time to educate end users on the basics of recycling.

With diminished world-wide demand for recyclables, and legitimate concerns that the energy used to process and transport recyclables outweighs the benefits from doing so, we should question whether the ordinance, as presently implemented, is more a ‘feel good’ exercise than one that actually makes a difference.

For now, so long as City ordinance requires us to implement recycling programs and educate our residents, let’s do our best to get it right! Check your waste hauler or access their website for recycling flyers to circulate, post and attach to your leases.

To learn more about what you can and can't recycle, check out this handy "cheat sheet".

To learn more about Independent Recycling , email Scott Post at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., website:



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