This section features suggested solutions to common issues experienced by property managers at multifamily properties. If you are experiencing issues that are not included here or would like to share an approach with us that worked for you, please email CommercialWaste@SacCounty.gov.
Pursuant to Sacramento County Code 6.20.430, property managers are required to ensure their recycling and organics collection services are adequate by subscribing to a sufficient level of service (container size, number of containers, and frequency of pick up) for their property, making sure the containers are clearly labeled, and ensuring containers are reasonably accessible to tenants.
Multifamily properties are also required to educate tenants within 14 days of their move-in on how to separate organics, recycling, and garbage and to provide annual reminders to all tenants.
1) Increase Participation:
Increase participation in the organics and/or recycling collection program at your property by ensuring tenants are educated on correctly separating these items, providing kitchen pails to tenants for food scrap collection, and making collection containers accessible to all tenants.
Provide educational outreach by:
- Holding interactive community events and presentations to encourage tenant engagement. If you are interested in having a speaker from our Department present at a community event, please contact CommercialWaste@SacCounty.gov.
- Utilizing the materials in the “Resources" tab of our Multifamily page (template letters, translated brochures, signage, downloadable enclosure container symbols, and easy to understand imagery) to provide regular notices to tenants. Include educational resources in your move-in packet for tenants. We also have copies of the Multifamily Recycling and Waste Services Guide available to pick up in bulk.
- Providing annual updated information and reminders on how to correctly separate organic material and recyclables from the garbage to all tenants. For example, an annual notice can be issued or updated brochures/pails/maps can be provided during annual inspections of each unit.
- Updating your current property map to ensure the locations of all collection containers are clearly marked, especially if the organics and/or recycling containers are not consistently located with the garbage container. The organics, recycling, and garbage container symbols on the “Resources" tab of our Multifamily page can be used on property maps to mark the different container locations.
Provide kitchen pails to tenants for organics collection in their kitchens. While supplies last, free 2-gallon kitchen pails (to collect food scraps and food-soiled paper) are available for pickup at two of our facilities. Please contact CommercialWaste@SacCounty.gov to arrange a pickup appointment.
Ensure all containers (organics, recycling, and garbage) are accessible to tenants. Ideally, there should be at least one organics and one recycling container present at each waste enclosure.
Make sure all containers are clearly labeled. Post signs or maps in common areas that clearly show the location of the organics and recycling containers. This includes the lobby, mailbox area, etc. Contact your waste hauler for labels.
Place the organics and recycling containers next to the existing garbage container(s). If space is an issue, place the recycling and organics containers near each other, with the garbage container(s) elsewhere. If there is space outside of a waste enclosure, consider placing smaller sized containers there.
One 64-gallon organics container (approximately 25" wide x 32" deep x 42" high) is recommended for every 25 units. One 1-yard recycling container is recommended for every 16 units. This ensures that all tenants have adequate access to all container types and can participate in separating organic material and recyclables from the garbage.
Please note that some waste containers automatically lock when the lid is closed. If your containers automatically lock, ensure all tenants can access the containers when they are intended to be available.
Contamination means that unacceptable items have been put in the collection container. For example, cardboard should go in the recycling container, not in the garbage container and bagged garbage should go in the garbage container not in the recycling or organics containers.
Reducing contamination and promoting participation in your organics and recycling collection programs go together. In addition to employing the strategies previously listed for increasing participation, consider these solutions:
- For your recycling containers, ask your waste hauler if they offer slotted lids. These lids reduce access to the recycling containers to encourage tenants to only place recyclable materials (like flattened cardboard, paper, and bottles) inside. Additionally, these lids can be kept locked while still allowing tenant access.
- Have staff periodically check the materials placed in the recycling and organics containers to identify common contaminants. Reinforce education to tenants by sending notices informing them of the correct container for these items.
- Establish a policy to enforce the waste collection rules at your property. For example, a fine can be imposed.
3) Theft and Scavenging:
To prevent theft of the organics/recycling cart(s) and to discourage scavenging in the recycling container(s), consider implementing the following solutions:
- Bolt/chain the organics/recycling cart(s) to the enclosure wall to prevent theft.
- Use security cameras to monitor the waste enclosures. Place signs on the outside of the enclosures to inform of the security system.
- Implement a lock/unlock system with the containers and/or enclosures by:
- Keeping all containers/enclosures locked and providing a copy of the key(s) to all tenants,
- Keeping the organics container(s) locked and attaching a key to the container(s) during specific times. Keep copies of the key at the main office in case it is misplaced, and/or
- Having staff lock/unlock the waste containers at certain times of day. For example, you can keep the containers/enclosures unlocked during service hours. Please note that some containers automatically lock when the lid is closed. If your containers automatically lock, ensure all tenants can access the containers when they are intended to be available.
Communicate with your waste hauler regarding your options to ensure your containers are secured. Additionally, ensure all tenants are aware of the security system in place for your collection program.
4) Illegal Dumping:
To prevent illegal dumping, consider taking these proactive steps:
- Use signs to inform violators that illegal dumping is a crime and indicate if you have a security system.
- Use security cameras to monitor the waste enclosures and entrance(s) at your property.
- Keep your property maintained and well-lit to deter illegal dumping.
- Keep property gates locked. Ensure waste enclosure gates are locked.
- Properly dispose of bulky items. Create set bulky waste disposal days for a franchised hauler or licensed hauler to pick up items.
- Encourage the reporting of illegal dumping by using the 311 app. Unreported illegal dumping results in more illegal dumping activity.
For more information, visit Sacramento County's illegal dumping website.