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A New Trend in Waste Management:

Written by  Monica Lopeznieto

4-TrendWasteMgtA growing trend in waste management, known as concierge trash collection, is being increasingly utilized in multifamily housing units across the country. Such services not only promise more efficient and effective trash collection, but they also purport to increase recycling among residents, thereby making the property both cleaner and more environmentally friendly. And with many states now making recycling mandatory, the demand for these services should continue to climb in the years to come.

Waste Worries

Waste management has always been a challenge in large, multifamily housing units. Most apartments and condos require their residents to take out their own trash and place it in a dumpster or another type of trash receptacle. In big buildings, with hundreds of tenants, this process can get quite messy. Residents frequently use leaky garbage bags that spill onto the walkways, and around holidays, trash receptacles often overflow. Additionally, some residents have been known to leave their trash outside of the dumpster or even in the building’s walkways. These situations are not only unsightly, but they can also become a health hazard.

Along with normal trash collection, recycling adds to a property’s waste-management challenges. To make recycling possible, multifamily properties must either provide special recycling bins themselves or use those provided by the local government. Of course, for recycling to work, the waste must be sorted correctly, which is something residents may or may not be willing to do. Moreover, if the local municipality doesn’t offer recycling collection services, the apartment or condo must deliver the recycling to the local processing facility themselves. All of these waste management issues can become a huge task for property managers and building owners, and that’s where the concierge trash services come in.

Valet Trash Collection

Over the past few years, private companies offering concierge trash collection have contracted with owners of multifamily housing units in several cities across the U.S. These companies collect trash and recycling door-to-door from each individual unit, between five to seven times each week. The services provide custom trash bins that are placed right outside each resident’s door, providing for more simplified and sanitary waste and recycling collection.

These bins typically have two sections, one for trash and one for recycling, and the recycling is usually single stream, which allows residents to put all of their recyclables in one bag without sorting. The concierge service not only collects the trash and recycling for the entire building on daily—or near-daily basis—but in areas where recycling collection is not provided, they also haul recyclables to the local collection center. Some companies even provide regular cleaning of the property’s dumpsters and trash collection areas.

In areas with no public recycling collection, these services are especially valuable as more and more people look to become more environmentally conscious, or “green.” Further, these companies eliminate the need for sorting, which should boost the number of residents willing to recycle. Further, several states like California and Maryland have recently passed laws making recycling mandatory for all but the smallest multifamily housing. Maryland now requires multifamily housing with 10 or more units to make recycling available to their residents, and in California, those with 5 or more units must offer recycling. When these laws are officially enacted, concierge trash services should see a substantial increase in demand.

Butler Bins

BSCs who offer such services can market them to property owners in many ways. Concierge trash collection provides a classy new amenity property owners can use to entice prospective new residents, especially in the luxury housing market, where these companies have already gained a foothold. For example, the New Jersey-based concierge trash collection company White Gloves Waste, which markets to luxury apartment complexes, calls their trash receptacles “Butler Bins” to give the service an air of sophistication.

Although trash collection may seem like an issue residents are fairly unconcerned with, a 2007 study of renters undertaken by ApartmentExpert.com found that efficient trash pickup was the number-one feature renters looked for when choosing multifamily housing. Owners can easily cover the cost for such services with a small increase in rent, making them not only cost-effective for owners but profitable. And since they make recycling easier, concierge services are also attractive for their environmental benefits, which are highly valued not only among residents, but with the surrounding community as well.

By offering concierge trash collection, BSCs stand to provide a valuable new service to their clients that’s not only efficient, but also environmentally friendly. Even better, because such companies are still fairly rare in many areas, these waste-management services will make BSCs that adopt them stand out among their competitors.


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