Condo and Apartment Recycling

Click to watch "It's Cool for Condos" video

Click to watch a Condo Recycling Vignette

More Green Channel videos

Condo Recycling Tips/Guidelines
Select What to Recycle
Decide How to Recycle
Implement and Promote Your Program
Local Condo/Apartment Recycling Programs in Operation
Collectors of Recyclable Materials on Oahu

Implementation Assistance
Request for Startup Costs Reimbursement
Request for Recycling Carts from the City (no cost)
Recycling Container Vendor List
Graphics for Flyers and Newsletters
Annual Report for Condos Receiving Costs Reimbursement

The City is offering startup cost reimbursement and use of 96-gallon recycling carts - see links above for details. Pre-approval is required to confirm eligibility of planned expenditures and availability of funds.

Recycling offers condominiums and apartments an opportunity to lower refuse costs. If your building or complex throws all of the mixed waste into a rubbish dumpster, the refuse bill includes both hauling charges and disposal charges. On the other hand, since many recyclable materials have a market value, they can often be hauled away at no charge. And with less waste in the dumpster, there is an opportunity to reduce refuse costs.

Here are some tips for establishing a successful recycling program in your building or complex. When you're ready to get started, call the City's Recycling Office for assistance at 768-3200.

Select What to Recycle

Recycling collection points can be set up on each floor in trash rooms. This offers convenience to the residents, but requires maintenance staff to transport materials to a central building storage area.

We recommend that you start with HI-5 beverage containers. Since the inception of the Beverage Container Deposit law in 2005, the increased value of the beverage containers may allow your condo to establish a low-cost to no-cost recycling program, depending upon the quantity of deposit beverage containers your building or complex can offer to a collector.

Adding newspaper and non-deposit glass and plastic, after your HI-5 collection program is established, can reduce disposal costs by decreasing the number of dumpsters and/or the pickup frequency. Include yard trimmings (green waste) in your plan, especially if you are generating significant volumes. Greenwaste would be handled separately.

Choosing which materials to recycle is a key factor to setting up a successful, cost-effective recycling program. Each type of recyclable material has a different market value. Revenue derived from materials with a high value, such as the HI-5 beverage containers, normally will cover collection costs from your facility. While the market price for newspaper will not cover pickup costs, the cost can be counter-balanced by a reduction in your refuse disposal costs.

It may be better to offer all of your recyclables to the same collector so the higher value materials can help defray the costs of the lower value materials.

Do-it-yourself mulching operations have already saved money for some condo complexes. The initial investment in a shredder/chipper is quickly recouped by lower refuse bills.

Yard trimmings from common areas can be chipped, mulched and used on your landscaping.

Decide How to Recycle

For Aluminum, Glass and Paper
Condo residents are often willing to bring their recyclable materials to a central area in the building. Many condos have found the parking areas convenient

1. Set Up Central Containers Collection systems vary in each multi-family building. Some condominiums have set up one central collection area in their parking garages; others have placed containers on each floor by the trash chutes. While both systems work, the second will involve more coordination among your maintenance staff.

Keep the following in mind when you plan your program:

  • Convenience
    Residents will participate if recycling is as easy as throwing it away. Collection containers should be located in areas regularly frequented by tenants.
  • Accessibility
    Tenants, staff and collector must have easy access to central collection sites.
  • Signage
    Provide easy-to-read signs explaining what items are recycled and how to participate to minimize contamination by unwanted material.

2. Check Out Collection Options
Recyclables can be picked up by a refuse hauler, collector, or recycling company, or you can do-it-yourself.

  • Refuse haulers offer a variety of recycling services and container options. A hauler may charge for hauling your recyclable material, and then credit you for the value of the material. If a hauler also provides refuse hauling for your facility, recyclables might be collected separately at no additional charge. Start by asking your current hauler what type of recycling services and containers they offer. Check the yellow pages in your phone book for other haulers.
  • Collectors or recycling companies are often willing to pick up your high-value recyclables at no charge, and some provide you with recycling containers. Click here for a list of collectors of recyclable materials on Oahu.
  • Do-it-yourself using maintenance personnel and/or volunteer residents. You can take your recyclables to a recycling company, or you can drop them off at a Recycling Center nearest to you. Recycling companies will pay you the current market value for the materials received. There are HI-5 Plus recycling centers that will also take non-deposit material. Check with the individual companies for what material they accept.

For Green Waste (Yard Trimmings)

  • Have your landscape contractor remove the green waste and deliver to the composter, rather than leaving it for your dumpster.
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn.
  • Purchase a chipper for your green waste and use the mulch to limit weed growth around hedges and garden plants and reduce watering needs on your property.
  • Self-haul to the composting facility (see the list of recycling companies), the City can arrange to pay the tip fee for you. Call 768-3421.

Implement and Promote Your Program

Once you have determined why, what and how to recycle, set up the containers and educate your residents:
  • Set and publicize a kick-off date.
  • Place signs and labeled containers in desired locations.
  • Distribute promotional and educational materials.
  • Publish recycling program details in a newsletter. The City's Recycling Office can provide door hangers and posters.

Local Condo/Apartment Recycling Programs in Operation

The following buildings or complexes have implemented recycling programs and are willing to share their experiences with you, including brief onsite tours of their program.
  • Honolulu Tower: 531-9090
  • Chateau Waikiki: 946-3677
  • Hokuloa Townhouses: 239-9666
  • Tropic Gardens: 732-3338
  • Moana Pacific: 591-1896
  • University Villa: 942-5637
  • Harbor View Plaza: 946-2960
  • Harbor Court: 537-5378

© 2005 City & County of Honolulu's Department of Environmental Services.