Paul Bergeron


Trash volume at apartment communities during the Covid-19 crisis are showing a 30 percent to 35 percent increase nationally, according to Camden Residential, a REIT that operates 165 properties across the country.

Its Director, National Purchasing, Rick Pippin says everything except for cardboard has increased. And although residents are certainly ordering plenty through Amazon, he says, because no one is moving out during this national shelter-in-place environment the residents aren’t generating a noticeable increase in box disposal.

His waste haulers typically charge $150 in overage fees each time a bin exceeds the level, but Waste Management, for one, has waived those fees through May in response to the Covid-19 circumstances.

“We have as many as 25 bins at some properties,” Pippin says. “This is saving us about $8,000 per week in expense. Waste Management also has not been enforcing some recycling contamination fees, so we’re kind of getting a mulligan on that, too. Every little bit helps.”

Camden has trash compactors at 100 of his communities, so overage is not an issue for those. But for the other properties, his residents and onsite trash-pickup service providers, who provide doorstep trash pick-up five or six or times a week, he says he’s seeing overflow in the bins nearest to the buildings.

“The bins way in the back of the lot aren’t seeing waste piled as high,” Pippin says. “I’m fighting with those who carry the trash to the bins to even it out, telling them to walk a bit further before dumping, but there’s only so much you can do.”

Camden uses Waste Management at 70 percent of its communities, and uses Republic, among others, elsewhere. “I’ve not been notified of any fee discounts by my other waste haulers, but I’m still waiting for the next round of invoices. Maybe it will show up there.”

Meanwhile, as shelter-at-home policies remain in place and apartment residents are relying more on Amazon and food delivery, communities will continue to measure their responses to these unprecedented circumstances in order to keep their renters happy.

Paul Bergeron is a freelance reporter who covers apartment management. He can be reached at [email protected].