How to Recycle in an Apartment


Although most states require multi-family housing units to have recycling services, you can still find yourself in an apartment without a recycling service. If you are passionate about responsible recycling, it can be difficult pursuing your interests in an apartment. However, it is not impossible. Here are a few tips you can use to boost your efforts in environmental sustainability.


1. Request for Recycling Services

If your apartment does not offer to recycle, find out whether local regulations require landlords to provide recycling services. You can then communicate with the local sanitation department to ensure your landlord complies with the laws. In case there are no such rules, you can still request your landlord for recycling bins in your building.

Consider rallying your neighbors with similar opinions for support to strengthen your case. The good thing is that when you come together, your landlord will be more willing to make the necessary changes to accommodate your requests. Note that recycling costs may be passed to the tenants. However, you can always negotiate to keep them low.


2. Start Small

It is advisable to start small when recycling in an apartment for manageability purposes. Begin with a few items you are sure you can find a local drop-off point. Some of the materials you can start with include plastic bottles, clear glass, cardboard, paperboards like snack boxes, papers, aluminum cans, and grocery bags.

A small list of items saves you time and money, especially if you have to drop them off at different locations. Also, there are high chances that your local drop-off point will accept some or all of the items you want to recycle. Always educate yourself on recyclable and non-recyclable materials to avoid filling your recycling bin with the wrong trash.

glass recycling


3. Locate Drop-Off Recycling Facilities

If you are going to recycle in an apartment, you should identify drop-off facilities near you. Consider asking for recommendations or conducting an online search to find the best location for your recyclable waste. You can also go online and search Earth 911 directory, as it contains a long list of drop-off locations.

Earth 911 is the largest in North America and contains more than 100, 000 listings and 350 materials. To use the site, type in your location, zip code, and the materials you want to recycle to see local drop-off facilities near you. Once you find a facility, get more information about the materials they accept.


4. Choose the Appropriate Location for Your Bin

Apartments can get cramped, making it difficult to find an ideal location for your recycling bin. When looking for a spot for your bin, choose one that is accessible and visible. If you can easily see your recycle bin, you can remember to recycle every time you dispose of waste. Additionally, designate specific bins for recycling, so you know where each waste goes.

You can also take advantage of color-coded bins to make your recycling easier as you automatically know what goes where. Usually, the bins come in blue, green, yellow, and red for different waste materials like paper, metal, glass, and paper. When you partner with professional residential recycling services, you don't have to sort your recyclables according to materials as they do the work for you.


5. Involve Your Neighbors

Chances are, you are not the only person that wants to recycle in your apartment building. Speak to your neighbors and ask whether they have a recycling system that works for them. Your neighbors can also join yours. If most of your neighbors are already recycling in a building without recycling services, you can use the opportunity to involve the management and get recycling services at your apartment.

Involving your neighbors in your recycling efforts acts as a motivator to recycle and makes the work easier. It also leads to cost and time savings in the long term. You can also take turns dropping off your recyclables, so you don't have to make numerous trips to the drop-off location.


6. Reduce and Reuse

Reducing your consumption subsequently reduces the waste you have to recycle, making responsible recycling easier. To successfully reduce your overall waste, buy in bulk and opt for items you can reuse. For example, instead of buying multiple water bottles, you can buy one refillable bottle that will serve you for longer. A reusable grocery bag also reduces your need to get a new grocery bag every time you go shopping. Besides reducing your waste, you also save money in the long run.

Also, consider repurposing items you cant avoid to serve other functions. As long as you are creative, you can reuse and upscale any item into whatever you want. For example, you can reuse your jars for storage purposes and turn bottles into soap dispensers or home décor items after applying spray paint. Instead of throwing items like cartons, you can donate them to preschools or artists who require art and craft items.


You don't have to stop living sustainably just because you moved into an apartment that doesn't offer recycling services. With the above tips, you can practice responsible recycling and take part in making the world a better place.