2017 Summary


Multifamily Outreach

Since 2012, Waste Management has been working together with King and Snohomish Counties to identify and test best practices for increasing and sustaining multifamily recycling. Through this work, it has been determined that effectively increasing multifamily recycling requires implementing the Recycling Best Practices-a combination of property management engagement, infrastructure improvements, and tenant education.

In 2016, Waste Management launched a new effort to implement these best practices on a larger scale for multifamily customer properties throughout unincorporated areas of King and Snohomish Counties.

Multifamily Outreach
The Four C's of Multifamily Recycling

Successful multifamily recycling programs rely on a supportive recycling infrastructure that makes it easy for residents to participate. Research and pilot programs supported by Waste Management have identified the Four C's of Multifamily Recycling as key features of a strong multifamily recycling program:

  • Convenience - Recycling and garbage containers should be equally convenient for tenants to access. This generally requires co-location of containers wherever possible.

  • Clarity - It must be clear to tenants which container is for garbage and which container is for recycling. Containers should have large, identifying labels and image-based signs posted at every point of collection.

  • Capacity - There must be sufficient room in the recycling container for tenants to place their recyclables. For most properties, recycling service should be approximately 50 percent of its total service volume, with per unit capacity in the range of 20 to 30 gallons (0.10 to 0.15 cubic yards).

  • Color - Color coding of containers increases the clarity of which container is intended for recyclables. Blue is generally associated with recycling

In 2017, program staff helped 82 properties in both counties make recycling infrastructure improvements and add a total of 345 yards of recycling per week! In total, more than 200 properties received some form of recycling assistance and door-to-door recycling education reached over 5,100 residential units.

Through the efforts completed since 2012, more than one quarter of WM customer properties in the King County RSA area and 84 customer properties in the Snohomish County RSA have implemented all recycling best practices.

As part of this project the Waste Management multifamily website was improved and resources are available for order or download here: wmnorthwest.com/recyclingallstars/

King County Multifamily Organics Study

In 2017 Waste Management conducted a study to evaluate whether multifamily properties in unincorporated areas of King County are prepared to start an organics program onsite. It helped identify how many are prepared to begin organics collection and illuminated the main barriers for properties not yet ready to start such a program.

First, properties must have successful recycling programs as a starting point to be ready to add organics collection. Organics collection requires correct sorting in addition to high involvement from residents and property managers.

Organics readiness is based on the following criteria:
  • Engaged property manager that is willing to work with Waste Management and residents to ensure program success

  • Clean recycling with minimal contamination

  • High resident participation in recycling

  • Interest from residents in organics collection
Study Approach and Findings

To initiate the study, property managers were contacted by phone to schedule site visits to evaluate these criteria, and all properties not reached over the phone were visited in person.

During visits, questions were asked to determine the property manager's willingness to work on the program and recycling audits were conducted to determine whether the recycling stream was "clean" and the level of participation by tenants. If approved by the property manager, a survey was also given to residents to gauge interest.

Ten of 151 properties are ready to begin an organics program, with 10 additional properties that are potentially ready, depending on property manager involvement.
Study Approach and Findings
Candidates for Multifamily Organics
Candidates for Multifamily Organics
Not Yet
Currently composting
Of the 128 properties that are not currently ready to begin an organics program, 39 percent either didn't have enough recycling onsite, or were having difficulties with the recycling they already had. Thirty percent had property managers that weren't interested, and the remaining 31 percent didn't have property manager's onsite, and could not be reached with three call attempts.

Study informs strategic and targeted approach to implementing organics collection programs in King County.

Reasons Properties Aren't Ready for Organics Collection
Reasons Properties Aren't Ready for Organics Collection
Property Management Not On Site, Couldn't Contact
Property Management Not Interested
Contaminated Recycling
Not Enough Recycling
Key Takeaways

Following the study, Waste Management determined that offering organics service to multifamily complexes in unincorporated areas of King County would be beneficial since some properties were interested and could take advantage of it. However, program success would require a secondary check at the site to ensure the property already has solid recycling practices in place. In addition, targeted outreach to the 20 identified properties that are ready to start organics collection would be a much more effective approach than wide scale rollout.

Contact Us 2012 Summary 2013 Summary 2014 Summary 2015 Summary 2016 Summary Supporting Materials
© 2017 WM Intellectual Property Holdings, L.L.C.

Home wmnorthwest.com King County Home Page Snohomish County Home Page