In days gone by, when you opened something up, you simply threw away the packaging. You ate your dinner and threw away the scraps, and you tossed your ratty old sweatshirt, t-shirt or jeans in the dumpster when they had more holes in them than a chunk of Swiss cheese.
A Throw-Away Society
It’s not surprising then, that as a nation, Americans generate more waste than any other nation in the world with 4.6 pounds of municipal solid waste per person per day—fifty-five percent of which is contributed as residential garbage. It is estimated, for example, that Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour, with the majority of them being thrown away.
In nearly every community, a variety of city and statewide initiatives exist to reduce the annual amount of garbage going into the waste stream. Recycling programs are in place for paper/cardboard and textiles, bottles and cans and electronic waste or e-waste. Most recently, composting programs have gained momentum in residential communities.
John Schert, director of the Hinkley Center for Solid & Hazardous Waste Management, in Gainesville, Florida, says “Property managers should, ideally, have a separate collection locations for their residents’ waste and their residents’ recyclables. Having a visible bin or compartment for paper, cardboard, plastic containers—such as soda or water bottles, laundry detergent containers—encourages more recycling. We also suggest that property managers hire reputable waste-hauling and recycling companies, to ensure that their wastes are transported to the appropriate places.”
The Cost of Recycling
Since the city of Chicago has slowly abolished refuse rebate programs—whereby owner-occupied units received condo rebates for the cost of refuse collection—many housing associations have begun looking for ways to establish other means of savings regarding the scavenger expense. And though condominium residents pay property taxes for services that include waste and recycling collections, the city does not, in fact, pick up from multiple family dwellings of more than four units.