By Michael Hess (MultiFamilyExecutive.com Article) —
Whether you’re a multifamily owner or a property manager, you have a great deal of responsibility to keep communities in tip-top shape while providing the best experience for your residents. Waste management is one of those key responsibilities that residents rely on and expect to be taken care of without a hassle.
The secret to a fine-tuned and efficient waste program is a customized plan that fits your individual properties. Say goodbye to missed pickups, trash overflow, or oversized items by the trash receptacle—the time for personalized waste management is now.
Here are five questions to consider as you work to develop a customized waste program.
1. What about your current program is working? And, most important, what isn’t?
One size does not fit all when it comes to waste and recycling programs. Your complex will not be the same as your competition down the street, or any other properties you may own. An audit can give you the lay of the land, helping you understand where your system is at and where you want it to go.
You can start by analyzing your waste policies and procedures to uncover the following:
- Waste and recycling program spend. What is the actual breakdown of every aspect of your program, including fees such as hauling and equipment?
- Trash pickup frequency. Are your trash pickups happening too frequently or not enough? Have you ever experienced issues with trash overflow? How are you handling larger items that can’t be disposed of in solid waste streams, such as couches, mattresses, and other apartment household items?
- Vendor use. How many vendors are you currently using? If you have multiple locations, are you using different vendors for each?
By getting a firm grasp on the aspects of your program that aren’t functioning up to par, you’ll be able to adjust elements that cause challenges, all while boosting the efficiency of your waste and recycling program.
2. Are you evaluating your waste streams regularly?
After your initial evaluation, it’s important to keep monitoring the success of your program on a regular basis. The reality of the situation is that your trash needs will ebb and flow, especially with the change of the seasons and holidays.
For example, you’ll likely see an influx of waste around the holidays. Families and friends are gathering to cook meals and giving gifts for the holidays, meaning more trash that your complex needs to compensate for.
A waste monitoring system is a key component of waste management. This tool can help you keep track of key monthly metrics by better understanding your waste streams and how much waste you’re generating—and adjust as necessary. It can also track and capture cost reductions, as well as generate reports on a regular basis to provide continual improvements on savings.
3. Is your waste area and equipment sufficient for your needs?
Nothing is more unsightly than overflowing trash or oversized items sitting next to dumpsters waiting to be hauled away. Most complexes have a dedicated space strictly for trash and recycling, and it’s important to ensure that this space is suited for your residents’ day-to-day needs.
Pay special attention to your equipment. The equipment you have on-site needs to be able to support the flow of the waste and recycling your residents are producing. Are your dumpsters consistently full and you’re running into overflow issues? Or is your equipment larger than what you need, and you’re consistently paying for a hauler to come and empty a half-full dumpster?
This is another instance where a tracking system, particularly with fullness monitoring capabilities, can come in handy. This allows you to get a better handle on your equipment and look for opportunities to boost efficiencies in your program. If there’s an opportunity to lessen the number of hauls, you can determine that using the data from the system. Or if you need to increase the number of hauls, it may be time to right-size your equipment to fit the amount of waste you’re generating.
4. Is your waste and recycling management system smart?
In today’s fast-paced, always-on world, we’re connected 24/7. That can hold true for your waste management system, as well. Today, some vendors are making it easy to stay connected to your waste management monitoring system via a secure cloud-based connection. All of your program’s data is in one easy-to-understand dashboard that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time.
Remote access allows you to monitor, measure, and optimize your company’s waste and recycling processes at your convenience. Not only can you gain insights into equipment fullness and waste spend, but you can also monitor your entire power unit, including oil temperature, switching controls, safety features, container connections, and system operating performance.
These benefits directly translate to a streamlined process that reduces expenses and helps you maximize your time and resources.
5. Have you considered a managed waste service provider?
If you own multiple complexes, you likely work with many vendors to keep your waste management program in check. Each of your complexes has different waste requirements, and the program for each needs to be tailored accordingly—this can be timely and costly.
A managed waste service provider takes the hassle out of waste management by becoming a centralized source for all of your waste needs. The provider can customize a solution to fit your needs across all of your locations and continually monitor for adjustments and cost savings. This means you have one point of contact and one invoice for all of your waste management needs. This allows you to put your time back into the many other daily responsibilities you have as a property owner.