For those of you who have been keeping up with Global Green’s Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR), you know that just a couple of months ago we helped launch a food scrap recovery system at a 16-unit apartment complex in Lincoln Heights – the first time food scrap recovery had been implemented in Los Angeles at a multi-family residence larger than 4 units. Now, we are expanding the pilot even further, to the 71-unit complex in LA’s beautiful Old Bank District.On October 4, 2014, Global Green and CoRR members Athens Services and EcoSafe Zero Waste set up a table in the building’s lobby to educate the tenants on the new program and provide them with a small kitchen bin and compostable bags. Tenants were directed to deposit their full bag of food scraps into a central green container located in each trash chute room of the building. There, they can pick up a replacement bag from the compost bag dispenser.
Each day the maintenance staff will empty the green containers into a 3-yard dumpster, where Athens Services will then collect the material for processing at their compost facility American Organics. Throughout the kickoff event, the implementation team found the tenants to be very receptive to the new program and excited that their food scraps would be turned into valuable soil amendment.
After the outreach event, Global Green sat down with Gilmore Associates’ Justin Schoenfelder, the property manager for the building, and got his take on why providing food scrap recovery to their tenants is good for their company as a multi-family building owner and operator.
What has been your favorite part about launching food scrap recovery at your building?
The best thing is that Global Green has teamed up with Athens and EcoSafe to offer this pilot program. We can try it, see how it works, learn along the way, and make changes if we need to, without any risk. This is an amazing opportunity that you’re providing for us. It really is all about partnerships, and working together to find solutions.
It’s actually hard for me to imagine anyone saying no to this, because it’s all benefit. There’s just no downside.
How are your tenants responding?
It has been great seeing our tenants coming up to the table today [to speak to the Athens Services, Ecosafe, and Global Green representatives] and responding so positively to the program, saying, “Oh, that’s really cool,” and walking back to their apartment with their new kitchen bin. That’s when we know we’re on the right track. We didn’t need to wait for the tenants to come to us, or even ask them if they wanted to do it. We went ahead and launched this with you and now we can see that there’s a real need for it, and a desire to do it.
Actually, one of the prospective tenants who came through today and saw you all giving out the bins made the comment of, “Oh, that’s so cool. They don’t have that where we live.” You can really see when it hits somebody, that feeling of, “Oh, that seems so obvious now.” It was definitely a very positive attribute to them.
Is this something you would like your other properties to get on board with as well?
We have three properties downtown, and a few other places where we’re expanding. Since this matches so well with our culture of constant improvement, this really is something that is part of our mission and we want to do it in as many of our properties as we can.
What advice do you have for other property management companies?
I think it starts with asking the right questions. Will this work? If not, what will work? Asking questions and really exploring your options, especially as part of a partnership like this project, is what will lead you to the best solutions for your specific situation. I believe if you see something being done better that what you already do, even if you can’t do the exact same thing, you can still learn from it and do it better in your own way.