Real Estate

How can apartment communities save up to $1800 a year? The answer is garbage.

“Americans dispose of 4.9 pounds of solid waste per person every day.”
– The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


With more and more apartment dwellers working from home, there is a very real and very expensive impact for property management companies: more trash. As residents rely on e-commerce for everything from groceries to furniture, all that packaging has to go somewhere.

And someone has to pay for it.

According to the National Apartment Association (NAA), contamination fees (resulting when recyclables are not separated) are up 10%-12% and can be as much as 5% of a waste and recycling bill. But what can management companies do?

Counting the costs

Waste management costs start with the dumpster rental itself. The average-sized dumpster for an apartment community is a three-yard, but many sites will have multiple dumpsters located in various locations throughout the property that require emptying services multiple times every week.

One dumpster alone can cost the property management company thousands each month, depending on location and frequency of service required. A contributing factor to these fees is the number of those cardboard boxes we mentioned, that are often not broken down or flattened, creating a false “fullness” effect and escalating costs.

There is good news. Three technological breakthroughs have made it possible for owners and operators to take control of these costs.

Breakthrough #1 – The ‘intelligent’ dumpster

Imagine if your dumpster told you when it was full. “Trash service monitoring is becoming a game changer, helping communities save nearly 40% on what they’re paying to have garbage and recyclables hauled away,” says Jason Gates, CEO of Compology, a technology leader in sustainability and efficiency. Compology’s rugged dumpster cameras powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can automatically monitor the fullness, content and contamination, service event activity,and location of each dumpster at a property. With the ability to distinguish recycling from trash and compost materials, six categories of contamination can be detected and alerts automatically sent to on-site teams to remove contaminants and break down boxes before haulers apply fines.

Breakthrough #2 – Dumpsters driven by data

The most advanced platforms enable internal comparative performance analysis of all properties within a portfolio and external analysis of competitor properties in a market and submarket. Waste management KPIs that can now be measured and ranked include:

● Trash pickup/haul-away costs
● Contamination fees
● Recycling diversion rates
● Carbon emission reduction
● Fullness optimization

With this type of granular data, owners and operators have a better sense of how to manage budget performance.

Breakthrough #3 – Automatic compliance reporting

As the global standard for environmental, social and governance (ESG) benchmarking and reporting for institutional investors, the GRESB Real Estate Assessment for listed property companies and private property funds evaluates performance against seven sustainability factors—including waste. Innovations to waste management platforms make it easier to maintain compliance with the increasingly rigorous GRESB, ESG, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations and government mandates, saving valuable time and reducing compliance violations. Advanced functionality also automatically imports waste metrics into the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®.

Proven results for multifamily waste management

Multifamily has only one platform that integrates these three breakthrough technologies: the RealPage® Waste Management Solution. In addition to drastically reducing waste management costs and providing expanded visibility into waste operations, this solution creates opportunities for properties to save money and helps waste-hauling companies improve the efficiency of their fleets.

Proven to reduce trash contamination fees by up to 80%, save up to $1800 a year per dumpster, and reduce waste-related costs by more than $100 per unit, the platform is uniquely capable of cutting expenses—without becoming a new one.

Download the free eBook, From Trash to Treasure: 3 Waste Management Solutions Boosting NOI, for a deeper dive into this topic and details on the solution more owners and operators are trusting to salvage their bottom lines.

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