As soon as you have communal bin areas at properties, whether an external bin store for an apartment block or say an alley way for an office block, you tend to get rubbish and waste problems. And it appears to be getting worse over the years, probably from people generally generating more rubbish and expecting everything to be either thrown away and dealt with or slick recycling procedures automatically being in place.
Clear communication here is paramount, and will deal with the majority of issues. Although there will unfortunately still be those that blatantly ignore this and do their own thing, unfortunately then often affecting everyone, even in those scenarios it’s good to have communication in place to show how you have tried to deal with refuse collection before further action is maybe then needed.
Real simple communication is also needed, not a long-winded ‘guide’ that the majority of people simply won’t read, and even if they did, not fully understand or remember. Hence here is a simple 3-point acronym to get to the bottom line. This is ideal to place in a formal letter or building guide, or have special leaflets and signs made up for site. By having just 3 points, and then making these easily understood pays dividends. So here goes, the ‘RAG’ acronym:
1. R is for Recycle Items
Make sure people know what they can and can’t recycle, and what they practically need to do in order to achieve this. Are there different coloured bins for these items, and what exactly do you place in them, as a ‘mixed’ recycling is different to just paper and card one. Often there are ancillary guides on refuse collector’s websites or flyers you can refer to, and even if you don’t have any arrangements then check if the council or whoever collects the bins sifts out recycle items at their end as a lot often do meaning you can safely ask people to place everything in just one bin, nice and easy.
Also, if there are any local separate arrangements, maybe a local bottle bank, or charity shop for clothes, or recycle bins at the local supermarket, then let people know.
2. A is for Additional Items
Nip this in the bud early, and tell people how they get rid of any additional items, whether just extra rubbish from more occupiers, or one-of moving in items like cardboard boxes, or old furniture and washing machines. Normally they need to remove these themselves, full stop – no excuses. Provide useful places for them to do this, maybe the local authority number to collect items, and the local tip. Be clear as well on whether they can temporarily keep items in the communal area until these separate arrangements do collect them.
You also have to be pretty firm on this, threatening action if they don’t, saying that others are watching out and ask people to report anyone they see and even names and addresses from dumped items (be careful of Data Protection rights though).
3. G is for General Rubbish
That’s it, just plain old bin bags or rubbish, and where they go. Don’t take things for granted, and clearly say where the bin store is, any access arrangements, and that any new occupiers need to be told this. Also, if it must all be kept in certain tied-up bin bags rather than just kept loose.
And that’s it, the RAG principle of managing communal rubbish areas. Once you clearly communicate then make sure it’s also regular re-communicated and re-iterated, as people often do genuinely need reminding of the real practicalities of such a day-to-day chore, plus they need to always make sure this is communicated to any new occupiers.
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