Solving Apartment & HOA Trash Problems

Solving Apartment & HOA Trash Problems

Ask Broomer

Are bins in your apartment or HOA constantly overflowing with smelly waste? Do you find that enclosures are unsightly? Do large items, like old furniture, clutter resident enclosures? Do you wonder why your trash bills are so high? Chances are your current trash service doesn’t fit your community’s needs. Trash problems can plague a community and cause headaches for managers. Don’t let these issues overwhelm you, tackle the challenge proactively!

Factors that contribute to trash problems

  • Unbalanced Trash Service. Many communities find that their current trash service level (number of bins, bin sizes, and pickup frequency) doesn’t fit their needs, which contributes to apartment or HOA trash problems.
  • Weak Recycling Program. When communities don’t recycle effectively, they generate higher volumes of trash.
  • Poor Handling of Discarded Large Items. Communities often experience unsightly trash problems when large items such as mattresses, old furniture, and empty boxes are left out in the open. Additionally, large items take up valuable trash space. Depending on your city, haulers often don’t pick up large items or may charge you for the extra service.
  • Unauthorized Dumping. Having ANY contractor dump their trash in resident trash enclosures can cause significant trash issues. Organic/Green waste such as grass clippings and tree trimmings from your community can take 10-30% of the available trash space from residents. This means that the community is subsidizing the contractor’s waste disposal fees. Construction and remodeling waste can be even more problematic to your community.
  • Seasonal Issues. Summer heat, holiday sales, and increased trash volumes can contribute to a community’s trash problems.

Ways to solve common trash problems

  • Balance Your Community’s Trash Services. Determine how much space your community needs for the amount trash it produces. Then match the volume of trash produced to the volume of trashed removed by the hauler. The balance is achieved by either changing the number of bins or the number of pickups. Determine your community’s needs through daily observations or by conducting a waste assessment.
  • Implement an Effective Recycling Program. Offering well-placed recycle bins in addition to lowering the number of trash bins encourages and reminds residents to be mindful of sorting common household items such as plastics, aluminum, and glass which can often take up space in trash bins. By offloading some of the waste volume to recycle bins, communities manage messy enclosures as well as guard the environment.
  • Find a Solution for Your Large Items. Determine if large items should be picked up by your hauler, onsite team, or a third party. The hauler may seem as the simplest answer, but they may not be the most cost-effective. Consider hiring a regular maintenance service provider to help with special services like picking up large and bulky items and regularly power washing enclosures to ensure your community not only looks appealing, but it smells good as well.
  • Prohibiting Unauthorized Dumping from 3rd Party Vendors. Ensure that contractors and landscapers haul away their own waste instead of contributing to residential trash volumes. Make removal of the waste they generate a stipulation in their contracts. Be aware that allowing green waste to be thrown away in your dumpsters could put your community in violation of the recently passed Assembly Bill 1862 which specifies that a business which generates more than 4 cubic yards of organic (green) waste must provide designated organic waste recycling bins.
  • Have a Plan in Place for Seasonal Issues. Finally, prepare for holidays, when residents usually have more waste due to shopping and festivities and trash haulers in most cities take the day off. While your community’s trash bins may have enough space for regular trash volumes, they can quickly become overwhelmed with the increased holiday trash. Extra service may be required to keep your apartment or HOA neat and maintain curb appeal. Contact your hauler or a special service provider to avoid big messes. In a future post, we will address these issues in depth.
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