It doesn’t matter how many times you put up notices to ask residents to please bag their garbage properly it still seems to happen…. Thin bags are barely tied up drop from several stories to create a mess. Encouraging residents to do their part helps. There are also ways to limit the amount of garbage that ends up outside the bins that needs to be cleaned up by hand. (For more on how to clean floors see cleaning floors).
One of the first things to look to see if the chute is aligned on top of the compactor or tri-sorter. As surprising as it sounds, sometimes the chute isn’t in line. This causes bags and bottles alike to hit the sharp top of the compactor rather than the angled slides they are meant to drop into. You can fix this permanently by calling your chute contractor. A quick fix is to change the angle where bags drop. For example, you can put a small angled box between the bottom of the chute and the top of the compactor. This acts as an initial wedge directing the garbage to where it is supposed to go.
Mud flaps can be repurposed
Another common issue is garbage bags that split open when they have an abrupt landing. The items inside explode outwards creating a mess. You can’t stop this happening, particularly in tall towers. However it is possible to mitigate the damage. Screw thick rubber mats around all the openings around the compactor. They need to be long enough to drop a couple of inches into the bin. The flaps keep spray inside the compactor and directly into the bins. Semi-truck trailer mud flaps can be used for this purpose. You can buy them on Amazon or Google ‘Heavy Truck Parts’ in your location. If you are doing this yourself, use large flat fender washers around the screws on both sides so that the flaps do not tear. You can also call your compactor contractor to install them.
Limiting broken glass is good for safety
Another cause of mess in the compactor rooms is that glass breaks on its way down the chute and on the bottom of a bin. While this is harder to handle, there are some potential solutions. Place recycling bins near the elevator or outside the recycling room to encourage residents to place glass in there. This limits the volume of glass breaking as it lands. Another potential solution is to place some cardboard boxes in the bottom of the bin to act as a cushion for the glass to reduce breakage. Again, mud flaps directing debris into the bin helps here too.
Never ending cardboard
Cardboard, cardboard, cardboard! Product and food delivery results in so many boxes. When they are thrown away – not broken down – they spill out of bins and all over the floor. Of course they get stuck in the chutes too. We have seen various ways to mitigate this. For example, some condos place a large camera in the recycling room with a big sign outlining fines for boxes left intact.
We’ve also seen condos where periodically, the concierge turns his or her screen slightly so that residents can see the camera working. That acts like Waze in your car saying “red light camera ahead”. It’s a good deterrent when shown on occasion. We’ve seen some ‘adult only’ buildings set up a box break-down table to encourage residents to do this task. Finally, other buildings have a buddy system for cleaners so that the job is done together which makes it much less frustrating.
Articles on burn-out
Whe thought of going to work Monday morning to face a room full of square boxes, brings out the concept of burnout. A 2018 Gallup poll, well before the stresses of COVID, showed that employees with burnout are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times more likely to look for a new job. One of the ways they suggest for preventing this is for management to encourage teamwork and buddy-systems.
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