Multifamily Recycling Education and Resources

In response to the City of Orlando’s Commercial and Multifamily Recycling Ordinance, the city has been awarded a series of grants by The Recycling Partnership. The purpose of the most recent grant was to; improve the quality of recycling at multi-family properties, with a focus on low-moderate income properties in Orlando; increase access to recycling information/education for residents in multifamily properties; identify, understand, and address potential cultural/language barriers to recycling at multifamily properties. 

These goals were achieved, in large part, through the implementation of personalized communication pieces created and translated from English into the three most common languages spoken by the population in the multifamily properties served by the grant project: Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Brazilian Portuguese. This made it possible to cross language barriers that have historically made implementing successful recycling programs difficult. The goal was to impact approximately 20,000 homes/units. 

Project description and findings

Blue bin for recycling

Valet recycling bin outside of a door

The in-unit recycling bin was provided to multifamily properties with the goal of removing plastic bags from the recycling stream. Giving tenants a reusable, convenient collection bin removes the need to transport recyclables in a plastic bag which usually ends up in the community recycling container.

The process was developed in phases:

Resource Notification

  • Door hangers were distributed to each unit to notify residents of the upcoming in-unit bin delivery, the intended purpose of that bin and helpful tips for recycling successfully. Download the door hanger(PDF, 274KB).

Onsite Information Session

  • Recycling education staff hosted “ReThink Your Waste” recycling workshops at interested properties where residents could ask questions about the recycling program, in-unit bins, and learn more about the importance of recycling right.

Bin Delivery

  • In-unit bins were delivered to each unit at participating properties. The bins contained an instructional flyer explaining how to properly use it and a “Know Before You Throw” flyer that included the five categories of recyclable materials accepted in the city's recycling program.

Community Signage

Recycling sign post in Haitian creole and English

  • Labels were replaced on community bins if they were faded or outdated so accepted items were clearly marked. In addition, real estate-style sign posts or wall-mounted signage near the community recycle containers were installed. This was something new that would catch the attention of the residents visiting the drop-off location and reinforced accepted recycling materials. 

Restrictive lid and sensors

Smart waste management solutions were implemented to help identify and reduce contamination in the recycling stream of multifamily properties. Rugged in-dumpster cameras were installed, and artificial intelligence (AI) technology distinguished between recycling waste and trash, capable of discerning 11 categories of contamination. The smart sensors were installed in 23 recycling dumpsters from 16 multifamily properties. Restrictive lids were installed to prevent residents from throwing trash bags in the recycling dumpster.

Outdoor advertising

Recycling education was not limited to material shared within participating properties. The City of Orlando partnered with Orange County and The Recycling Partnership to expand our reach and purchased billboards highlighting common recycling contaminants. Billboard placement was based on the location of the multifamily properties that were served by this program. This exposed tenants to recycling education in their unit, on their property, and in their neighborhood.

Park Lake Towers Mural

One of our most active properties saw value in commissioning an educational mural at their community recycling area. The mural was designed and painted by local artist Ryan Semple, who used bold colors to capture the interest of the residents, including images of the five types of recyclable materials, but also customized it according to contaminants found in on-site recycling audits. The information was presented in English and Spanish to be inclusive of the diversity within their community.

Mandatory recycling ordinance

City of Orlando passed a mandatory recycling ordinance for all commercial and multifamily properties. The ordinance requires properties to provide the opportunity for tenants to recycle and contributes significantly to the city’s overall waste diversion efforts. 

Learn more about the ordinance


The distribution of in-unit bins, the dissemination of customized and multilingual educational materials, onsite information sessions, outdoor advertising, public art initiatives, and infrastructure add-ons such as restrictive lids resulted in a decline in categories of recycling contaminants. When comparing the post intervention data with the baseline, in properties with recycling dumpsters as well as those with recycling carts, there was an improvement in the quality of recycling.

Number of recycling contaminants at properties with dumpsters before and after intervention in a bar graph   

Number of recycling contaminants before and after intervention in a bar graph

In addition to carrying out the pre and post intervention audits, a recycling composition study was carried out, to quantify the weight of recyclable materials and contaminants before and after some type of intervention. In the property selected to carry out the study, the bins were distributed, educational materials were distributed, six consecutive days of onsite education sessions were held, and a recycling mural was painted. The results demonstrated the effectiveness of the interventions since the pounds of all recyclable materials increased and the pounds of contaminants decreased.

Recycling composition study results in a bar graph