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How to Engage

Residents in Recycling
and Organics
Collection in Your NYC
Multifamily Building

Presented to Forum on
Residential Recycling
October 7, 2019
Jacquie Ottman
Chair, Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board
Founding Chair, Residential Recycling and Reuse Committee
- Authors of Two Guides for Multifamily Recycling in NYC
Manhattan SWAB

Citizens Advisory Board founded in 1989

32 Members, appointed by Manhattan Borough President’s Office

Advise on strategies for achieving zero waste

Areas of Impact: Policy, Grantmaking, Outreach and Education

YOU are welcome to monthly meeting and committees

Learn more:

Residential Recycling Committee


Move the needle on NYC’s

recycling rate by removing the
barriers to recycling
participation with multifamily
Did You Know?
• Multifamily buildings recycle
at half the rate of single family
homes nationally.

• One half of NYC waste

stream is residential.

• Half of NYC’s 3.4 MM

housing units are multifamily;
highest proportion in
Why It It So Challenging to Get Residents of
NYC’s Multifamily Buildings to Recycle?

● Anonymity
● Lack of Personal Responsibility
(rentals, Air BnB)
● Diversity: Languages, Demographics,
● Lack of Direct Financial Incentives
● Fear of rats! (Organics)
Resident Engagement: The Missing Piece
Recycling Champions!

Volunteer Recycling
Schwab House
Enter: The MSWAB Guides
The MSWAB Recycling Guides:
Press Coverage
Strategies for Encouraging
Residents of Multifamily
Buildings to Participate in
Recycling and Organics
Make it Easy

Convenient drop off; on

floors in particular
Clear signage (where
and how)

Recycling collection at Stuytown


- WHY we are doing this

- WHY it’s important
Help with the Pre-sort

Help residents pre-sort

in their units

Tip: Ask DSNY if you are eligible for free bins

Make it Part of Building Culture

Make it part of the

building’s culture
- Branding /
Make it Part of Building Culture

DSNY Signs
Sign a DSNY “Zero
Waste” pledge
Lease rider
Make it Fun

Social event
Enforce Gently!

Don’t scold!
Fine after 3rd offense
Measure Results and Refine

Demonstrate progress
Celebrate Success

Pizza party
Pull Together a Team

Property Manager
Resident “Recycling
Volunteer Recycling Champion,
Schwab House
Make the Case

It’s the law!

Right thing to do
Save money
Attract Millennials
Get out ahead of
legislative, social trends
Cut down on rats!
Download the Guides for FREE at the Website