I am looking to develop some best practices / strategies around cart sharing. Currently in Calgary every single famly houshold is provided 3 carts for waste disposal (compost, recycling and garbage). This situation works really well however, it gets more complicated for fourplexes and duplexs (more so for the fourplexes). In the case of a fourplex each unit is give 3 carts. Thus, behind or in front of each fourplex there are 12 carts. This can lead to a variety of issues. I am hoping to chat with some municipalites that have had a similar situation and have implimented measures that (in one way or another) reduce the number of carts and yet still provide the same level of service.
Leader, Community & Customer Initiatives
City of Calgary: Waste and Recycling Services
Carts at fourplexes
I did pilot projects at two large townhouses and several apartment buildings in Metro Vancouver. The thing that was universal is that THERE WAS NEVER ENOUGH VOLUME.
Metro Vancouver's goal is to divert 70% from garbage, and yet over and over again, 90% of the volume was for garbage and 10% was for recycling.
It does not matter how much signage, how many brochures, how many Recycling Captains or community groups or bylaw officers you have, if you only give them 10% of the space, you will capture at most 15% of the materials.
People want to recycle. They want to do the right thing. Very few people are sociopaths. If you give them a system that works FOR PEOPLE, they will use it. You can see we would get 15% of the material in only 10% of the space--people were really jamming it in.
(I emphasize the system must work for the people, because almost all of our systems are built to work for the recycling trucks, or the materials sales, or the bulldozers, or the incinerators. These mechanical systems should serve the residents, not the other way around. Unless you want to fail, that is.)
Shifting the space also sends strong social signals--nothing says reduce your garbage like a giant recycling bin and a small garbage can.
Because of the very space constraints you mention, we experimented with common bins, especially for cardboard. This was very easy in townhouses, but we also saw some good results by just dropping one in an alley for everybody to use.
We thought it was best to calculate tote and dumpster needs by the number of bedrooms--that gives a better sense of how many people are actually using the system.
So, say at a townhouse complex, in each little cul-de-sac, we had a garbage dumpster, a dumpster for cardboard, centralized totes for food and yard scraps, and a big blue tote shared between two units.
The absolute least I would recommend is a 96 gallon tote for every 14 bedrooms. That is AFTER you have cardboard, food scraps and garbage containers in place. If you are going to expect people to fit their cardboard in a blue tote, you should probably double the totes.
As a side note, to emphasize the fact that people CAN NOT recycled if you do not give them the space --take a look at Maple Ridge. They are far and away the most impressive system in the Lower Mainland, and probably in most of North America. They have six recycling streams, all colour coded. If your tote fills up, you can give them a call and they will come empty it.
They know you need space in your tote in order to recycle. This is the only jurisdiction I have ever seen that TRULY acts like they want you to recycle.