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The Department of Public Works Launches Multi-Family Toolkit Campaign

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
First-ever dedicated materials to explain requirements, highlight best practices for capturing recyclables.

The District’s ambitious zero waste goal of achieving 80% waste diversion by 2032 will be reached by residents and businesses city-wide recycling more, and better. To support the fast-growing multi-family sector in recycling successfully, the Department of Public Works (DPW) is launching a robust toolkit with resources to help apartment buildings, condominiums, and cooperatives deliver recycling programs to the more than 400,000 residents that call them home.

“At a time when the multi-family sector is seeing extraordinary growth, we are thrilled to provide a Multi-Family Zero Waste Guide, dynamic videos, and a host of other resources,” said DPW Interim Director Christine Davis. “These resources are designed to help buildings come into compliance with recycling requirements, if they aren’t already, and help buildings that are providing recycling access to their residents today go from good to great.”

DPW requires that multi-family buildings provide recycling collection to their residents, communicate with them annually, and ensure that janitorial staff are trained up on how the recycling program works. Yet, while more than 50 percent of the waste that multi-family buildings generate is recyclable, only 13 percent is collected for recycling today.

Davis said that it was mission critical to learn about the specific challenges that multi-family buildings face from the people that manage their recycling programs and wanted to design resources that would be precisely targeting these issues, especially where contamination is concerned.

The Toolkit development was made possible through a grant from The Recycling Partnership, a nonprofit action agent transforming the country’s residential recycling system for good.

“Prioritizing recycling at multifamily residences helps create more equitable access to recycling while unlocking a supply of much needed materials used in creating new products and packaging,” said Craig Wittig, director of community programs  at The Recycling Partnership.

“The Recycling Partnership is honored to partner with DPW on its first-ever multifamily toolkit and to continue to assist the District in achieving its ambitious zero-waste goals.”

In August, The Recycling Partnership launched its Multifamily Recycling Guide and Community Toolkit providing communities nationwide with free customizable resources and templates for to use in their outreach to multifamily property owners, managers, and residents.

In its forthcoming mailing to all building owners and property managers, DPW will highlight the recycling requirements that buildings must meet and the new resources that the Multi-Family Toolkit contains to help buildings manage effective recycling programs. Inspectors with DPW’s Solid Waste Education & Enforcement Program have completed more than 150 inspections of multi-family building recycling programs this summer and will continue to ensure that recycling access is available to all District residents.

District multi-family building staff can explore the full Multi-Family Toolkit by visiting zerowaste.dc.gov and also reach out to [email protected] with any questions.

About The Recycling Partnership

The Recycling Partnership is helping to transform the U.S. residential recycling system for good. It operates at every level of the recycling value chain and works on the ground with thousands of communities to transform underperforming recycling programs and tackle circular economy challenges. Learn more at recyclingpartnership.org