Property manager waste toolkit

The RDCO has developed a suite of resources for apartment and condo property managers and owners to improve recycling at your buildings and engage with residents around recycling practices. In the Property Managers Toolkit you will find: 

Recycling best practices

Add signage and labels

  • Signage above bins help residents know what goes where.

Use consistent colour schemes for bins

  • Helps make associations between a bin and a particular waste stream. 
  • Common colour scheme regularly used in municipal residential collections is blue for recycling, black for garbage, and green for organics.

For a comprehensive waste collection system colour scheme, please refer to the Property Managers Toolkit.

Speak with your hauler

If you have questions about your current recycling program, about expanding your program, or about additional services ( e.g. large-item removal, composting), speak with your hauler using the questions below to start the conversation.

Questions/requests about your current program

  • What can we currently recycle at our building?
  • Do you provide educational materials (e.g. signage, labels, etc.) to help residents use these services correctly? What types of materials do you provide?
  • Where do you take recyclable material following pick-up?
  • Do you receive rebates from the sale of your recyclables?

 Questions/requests about updating service or adding new services

  • My collection schedule needs to be changed: how will this impact my billing?
  • How flexible are your contracts?
  • What is the time period on the contracts? How does it get renewed or cancelled?
  • What services do you offer, and how much do they cost?
  • What type of collection bins do you offer? 

Storing your recycling 

Pick a great spot for garbage and recycling

  • Choose convenient, safe, accessible, and well-lit areas.
  • Make bins accessible to the hauler.
  • Place garbage and recycling bins together.
  • Ensure enough room to contain recyclables between pickups.
  • Replace broken bins and wash them regularly to prevent smells.
  • Consider removing garbage bins and adding recycling bins or downsizing large garbage containers to create space for a larger recycling bin.
  • Use similar looking bins (e.g. shape and colour) for storing materials of each stream.
  • Label all bins with decals, banners or posters.
  • Work collaboratively with neighbouring buildings to share waste and recycling receptacles. This may allow you to provide additional programs.
  • Schedule regular pick-ups or call for pick-up when the bins are full

Involve your maintenance staff

  • Request that maintenance staff regularly inspect the garbage and recycling collection areas to be clean and to refresh posters when needed
  • Monitor bins to ensure they never overflow and that they are at lease 75% full at time of pick-up. Right sized bins can lead to cost savings by avoiding additional pick-ups due to overflow.

Communicating with residents to increase participation 

 Provide information to help reduce or divert waste

  • Share the Multi-Family Recycling Toolkit For Residents with all residents.

  • Send an email to residents to introduce any changes to your recycling program.

  • Send an email to new residents about your recycling program and offer a move-in tour to walk them through your recycling collection areas.

  • Consider giving residents a reusable tote bag or small recycling container to help them store recycling and carry recycling to your collection areas.

  • Share information on events (E.g. RDCO's Repair Cafe and Trunk Sale), share ideas for reducing or diverting food waste, and mention the nearest recycling depot.

Start a Green Team

A Green Team works together to reduce environmental impacts at a property. They are a great way to build community, engagement, and a sense of purpose around your building's recycling program, and encourage and inspire resident participation. To start a Green Team:

  • Decide on a meeting date, time and location to bring the team together.
  • Welcome the group, play a few icebreakers, and talk about the importance of recycling.
  • Next, create a set of ground rules for participation.
  • Discuss the current state of waste diversion at your building: where are you starting from? What is working and what is not? This will inform your goals.
  • Come up with a list of action items and activities to tackle and set a time to meet again to review the status of each action item.
  • Ideally, the Green Team will meet monthly (or quarterly, at a minimum) to review progress and decide on the next action to tackle.

Host a recycling information session

Keep your residents informed about program changes, and consider hosting a building-wide information session for residents to learn more about the programs available. Below are some ideas for hosting a successful event:

  • Involve strata councils, board members, and interested residents. Hold the sessions during the evenings or weekends to increase participation.
  • Promote the event on building message boards and through newsletters and emails, providing residents with a few weeks notice and all the details for the event.
  • Provide these sessions periodically throughout the year to keep residents engaged.
  • Invite a guest speaker to discuss different aspects of recycling. for example: an RDCO Waste Reduction staff member, or a representative from your hauling company.
  • Provide incentives and activities for participation such as free snacks, swag, or door prizes, and games or puzzles.

Hold a Community Garage Sale or Swap Table

  • Organize a swap table or yard sale where residents can  trade or sell items in good condition for reuse by other residents.

Additional materials to consider 

Depot only recyclables

  • Encouraging your residents to bring glass, foam packaging, plastic bags to a depot.  Electronics, small appliances, batteries, light bulbs and fixtures can be taken to a provincial take-back location.


  • Identify volunteers to coordinate a building-wide depot recycling "Car Pool" collection program, with drivers taking turns to bring recyclables to the depot for their neighbours.
  • Involve maintenance staff or residents to transport items to your local depot and pay them for their time, give them a gift, or let them keep the money from refundables.

Address food waste

Food waste accounted for nearly 30% of the materials audited during the 2020 Multifamily Recycling Study undertaken in the RDCO. By addressing food waste, you can divert more materials from landfills, realize cost savings by switching to a smaller garbage bin or reducing the frequency of pick-ups, reduce odours, and avoid attracting pests.

The following haulers are providing compost pickup service:

Valley Pro Recycling 250-717-6056

Spa Hills Compost 250-253-1459

Hazardous waste

Leftover products that contain corrosive, toxic, flammable or reactive components are considered household hazardous wastes (HHW). Learn more here.


Please bring used tires to local tire shops, the Glenmore Landfill or the Westside Residential Waste Disposal & Recycling Centre for proper disposal.


Interior Health provides free posters and info sheets on safe disposal of sharps; if sharps are a problem at your property, consider printing posters to hang in common areas or email them to residents. Interior Health accepts sharps at all IH public health, primary care, mental health, and substance use sites: pharmacies may also accept them.

Needle disposal boxes for personal use can be found at these Kelowna locations:

  • Interior Health Community Health & Services Centre (505 Doyle Ave)
  • Kelowna RCMP Detachment (1190 Richter St)
  • Outreach Urban Health Centre (455 Leon Ave)
  • Rutland Community Policing Office (115 McIntosh Rd) 

Monitoring and measuring success 

 It is important to monitor and measure progress of your waste diversion program to ensure that the changes you have made are working, and that your waste streams are not contaminated. Report your findings to residents: the findings will help them understand that they have a role to play in the success of their own programs.

Consider establishing a baseline: How does the program currently function? What is working and what needs improvement? Pick the option that best suits your needs and capacity.

Ask for feedback from your recycling hauler.

  • This may include tonnes or volume recycled, comments on contamination, damage to bins, and reasons for missed collection.
  • Ask your hauler to offer guidance and support. They may also offer additional resources that can be given to residents.
  • Draft a quick email to residents to provide this feedback and further support recycling in your building.

Conduct a visual assessment or detailed waste audit

 Toolkit, posters, signs and other helpful materials 

Check out the full Property Managers Toolkit for more detailed information and additional resources

Posters for Recycling Rooms

Large Banners for recycling rooms

Bulletin/elevator board notice about resident toolkit

Waste assessment and audit information

Sample emails to send to your residents can be found under the Other Resources section of the Property Managers Toolkit

  • Introducing a new recycling program
  • Introducing updates/changes to existing recycling programs
  • Introducing new residents to existing recycling programs
  • Household hazardous waste
  • Communicate feedback on the recycling program to your residents
  • Communicating waste audit findings to your residents