Valet Trash Can Bring Efficiency to Sorting, Hauling



2 minute read

Waste-hauling costs are increasing and recycling policies are becoming stricter. Apartment operators are seeing the effects and are taking a variety of steps to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In Part 6 of this 13-part, in-depth report, we describe potential benefits to valet trash pick-up.

So whose turn is it to take out the trash?’

Camden and others find valet trash pick-up services to solve multiple problems. Valet service workers are trained and knowledgeable about recycling stream etiquette. They collect trash in clear bags, those bags are brought to the appropriate containers, ripped open and then materials are placed inside, accordingly. The plastic bags are then disposed in the trash.

This offsets residents’ unfortunate choice of using plastic bags that are not recyclable (typically those distributed by grocery stores), made of the material that can jam the recycling sorting equipment.

AvalonBay Maintenance Manager Carlos Flores says colored plastic bags are particularly a nuisance because his staff cannot see into them to make sure contents are properly sorted.

Camden uses a doorstep trash valet service at 95 percent of its communities.

“Our ability to charge residents for valet trash pick-up is a good revenue stream for us,” Camden’s Rick Pippin says. “Some residents, such as Millennials, say they don’t want it or don’t need it, but we find that they have more trash than most. One complication with valet service occurs during weekends when some residents bring their own trash directly to our bins. They might come home late at night and not be as good about throwing their fast-food containers in the appropriate container. And the volume can increase during weekends if the residents host parties.”

LumaCorp’s trash disposal protocols are unique to each community, Ian Mattingly says, and are based on the resident profile, available land area for collection and staffing levels.

“In several of our communities, we offer curbside valet trash collection, which is expected in class A and B+ garden-style communities, these days,” he says. “And at some of these locations, we have decreased costs by leasing a compactor and moving from three times per week collection to a monthly collection schedule. In other communities, we are too space-constrained or constrained by staffing levels and still rely on our residents to dispose of their waste in a Dumpster.”

Back to the Trash Talking in-depth report or read the part 7 storyTrash Compactors: The Blood and Guts of the Operation.