Most of us rarely think twice before tossing a banana peel into the garbage can. Which is fine! Anything from a deflated bike to an old boot can usually be thrown in the trash without a second thought. But there are some items that must be disposed of with more care and diligence. Multifamily buildings produce a lot of waste material, some of which can be dangerous if it gets grouped together and thrown away with everyday household items.
All buildings and associations should have a plan in place that lets unit owners and staff alike know what items are deemed hazardous; how they should be disposed of; and when and where that disposal should take place in order to avoid accidental exposure and keep everyone safe and healthy.
A fairly eclectic assortment of materials can prove hazardous when disposed of improperly. But as a rule of thumb, the classifications that require special care are electronics, oils, and chemicals.
“As a manager of a 288-unit complex, I am concerned with any item that would threaten the safety of the residents living in a multifamily dwelling,” says Ann Marie Aldrich, a community association manager with the Woodside Village Condominium Association, Inc., in Clearwater, Florida. “Offhand, this would include oil, grease, paints, and chemicals.”
John Kadim, a portfolio property manager with Thayer & Associates, Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, warns against electronics of all sizes, but especially the smaller, sneakier kind. “Many times, smaller electronics are ‘snuck’ into the regular trash,” he says. “Most people dispose of chemicals, light bulbs, and things that are not usually given a second thought in their garbage cans simply because they fit in there. Whether light bulbs, chemicals, computers, TVs, paints, etc., all of these materials should be given careful consideration and afforded a special disposal process to protect the environment, especially where disposal is locally prohibited.”