Side of apartment building with patios

By Allison Majerus

Almost 60% of Americans living in multi-family properties lack access to onsite recycling. It is estimated that each person in the United States creates nearly 5 pounds of garbage each day. Many of these materials are recyclable, such as aluminum cans, cardboard, and newspaper. Read why and how you can start a recycling program at your multi-family property.


  • Highlight property public image: Many potential tenants seek apartment complexes that offer a recycling program
  • Save Energy and Protect the Environment: The energy spent to recycle materials like aluminum, plastics and paper is far lower than the amount of energy it takes to produce these products from raw materials.
  • Encourage Community Pride: As more people recycle in a community, the more people feel good about their community as a whole.


  • Start Simple: Start by collecting one material, such as cardboard or aluminum cans.
  • Engage Property Management, Tenants and Custodial Staff: Reach out to everyone and decide together how to proceed and who is responsible for what task. Provide training to staff and educational materials to tenants.
  • Write it into Your Lease: Add language in your lease agreement that specifies that all tenants are expected to participate
  • Place Appropriate Containers and Label Them: It should be as easy for tenants to recycle as it is for them to throw things away. Place recycling containers near all common areas where garbage is being collected. Use clear signage, communicate with color and images that will communicate across language.
  • Start a Green Team in your building to help promote, monitor and strengthen your recycling program


The Multifamily Recycling Toolkit (The Recycling Partnership)

Recycle Lincoln: Recycling in Multi-family Housing

Waste 360 Multifamily Recycling: Challenges and Strategies