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 get 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.”

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