Providing Better Facilities for Apartment Dwellers to Recycle Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Recycling in Apartments

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Providing Better Facilities for Recycling to Apartment Dwellers

Recycling is highly beneficial to the natural environment as it plays a vital role in preserving natural resources. Recycling caters with the benefit of reducing the amount of material entering landfills. Moreover, recycling can save money for building owner. It costs less to recycle discards than to throw them away (Rankin, 11). The process of making new products from raw materials costs a great deal in comparison to making them through recycled products. This paper highlights the challenges encountered by people living in apartments or multi-family building in terms of recycling materials. It also explains the current practices in this regard and recommends prospects solutions for improving recycling facilities for apartment dwellers.

Recycling Challenges Faced by Apartment Dwellers

The physical structure, environment and management of multi-family complexes give birth to varying systems and approaches to waste management. Recycling initiatives for apartments vary a great deal from a single garden style condominium. The removal of solid waste in apartments comprising of several families and residents makes is immensely difficult and requires proper management.

Limited Space

Limited space tends to the foremost problem encountered by apartment dwellers in implementing any recycling program within their own vicinity. The presence of adequate interior space for processing recyclables, and distance to recycling bins is highly important in making a recycling program successful (Ando, 426). This limited space hinders apartment dwellers in storing their recyclables effectively. In a condominium or a single-family dwelling, people place their recycling bin in the garage or beside the house until collection day. Apartments are devoid of this much space to an extent that even a standard 18 gallon collection recycling container also serves as an obstacle for them.

Cost Issues

Cost is another overriding factor which makes recycling a difficult process in apartment dwellings. Curbside collection for single family homes is relatively easy to manage and automated systems could easily be implemented there for collection of recyclable materials. Apartment complexes have no curbside access and thus the system is not applicable there. Apartments involve immense manpower for collection and flawless management for proper waste disposal and recycling (Birkner, Celusnak, Nutini and Rycenga, 15). Recycling in itself is an expensive affair as recycling services require specialized containers which cost more money. Buildings which use smallest-sized dumpsters are not able to save on trash bill by recycling.

Recycling Collection Issues

Collection of recyclables from the entire apartment complex is one of the primary concerns associated with recycling in apartments. Most of the management teams in apartments are reluctant in spending money on door-to-door collection of recyclables as it involves immense manpower and time (Petru). Moreover, the collection of recyclables becomes an unsanitary process too; bottles & cans are smelly usually and attract bugs. Not only this, extra recycling collection containers add to problems associated with aesthetics, litter, etc. recycling in apartments involve additional containers which fall a victim of illegal dumping and acts of vandalism. Illegal dumping encompasses the contamination of recyclables with non-recyclables/improperly prepared recyclables. Thus constant monitoring is required for keeping track of contamination.

Lack of Awareness and Education

Multi-family dwellings are characterized by single, young and mobile lifestyle. This makes communication and program implementation difficult (Wood, 34). Thus, the residents of the apartments are catered with less education pertaining to the need of recycling and the appropriate ways to recycle waste. Moreover, some multi-unit buildings have multi-lingual populations and multilingual recycling information is not always available readily.

Lack of Incentives

Another problem confronting apartment recycling programs is the lack of incentives for property owners to implement and support recycling programs in their multifamily buildings

Overview of Current Recycling Practices in Apartments

In order to encourage the concept of recycling among apartment dwellers, several initiatives have been taken, and some important of them are discussed below.

Placement of Recycling Containers

Various apartment complexes have placed different kinds of recycling containers for implementing recycling strategies within their vicinities. Recycling containers are usually located at the same place as the trash containers. In this way it is no more difficult for residents to dump their recycling than it is to dump their garbage (Ando, 430).

However, it is not just about dumping the recyclables. This process of dumping in containers often leads to contamination or improper disposal of recyclables. Thus, there exists a need to automate the process in order to make it…

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