City of Reno: Methods for increasing recycling subscriptions in the multifamily sector in Reno

Project title

Methods for Increasing Recycling Subscriptions in the Multifamily Sector in Reno

Research question

State law requires new multifamily developments to provide space for recycling carts or dumpsters. Prior to that law, there was no requirement. However, it does not require that the owner or manager subscribe to a commercial recycling plan or program through the local waste hauler. As more tenants in these complexes request recycling services, more barriers are identified. This project will research solutions to the barriers and implementation concepts.


Subscriptions to recycling services in multifamily developments in Reno is low. It is the responsibility of the owner or manager of the complex to subscribe to the services. Tenants can't subscribe as an individual. Presently, they would have to take their recyclables to the Transfer Station in Reno. Some of the barriers identified to increasing subscriptions are:

  1. Tenants and others can place solid waste in the recycling dumpster or cart and the owner or manager will be changed the contamination fee(s).
  2. Lack of space for storage of recyclables. In Midtown, Downtown, and other older developments, there is no space for a dumpster or cart.
  3. Lack of in unit space for a separate can for the tenant to separate out their recyclables from their solid waste.

In Las Vegas, several complexes use a Valet Service, but the price of that service is unknown. It’s also unknown if providers of that service exist in Reno. A solution can't include the hauling of recyclables as that is a violation of the City of Reno Exclusive Franchise Agreement with Waste Management. Meaning, the Valet service as above described simply collects the material from each door, puts it in the single stream recycling dumpster and locks the dumpster.


The final deliverable should include a report on the following:

  1. List of how many multifamily developments in Reno subscribe to services (I can obtain this info and provide).
  2. Identification of barriers (can come from general research or interviews. I can assist with setting up interviews).
  3. Data regarding recycling rates in other cities similar in size to Reno.
  4. Identification of proposed solutions to increase the number of multifamily properties subscribing to recycling. These may include state level policy, local policy, marketing programs, valet services, or other identified concepts, and any associated barriers to implementation, as well as estimated costs for the Valet Service option.
  5. Graphs, data points, metrics, or other visuals that can be used in City of Reno blogs, on the website or other documents.
  6. A one-page summary of key points that can be presented at meetings with owners, managers, or other persons on the findings and solutions, and benefits of recycling.

Suggested skills

Strong research, writing, planning, communications, and analytical skills. An interest in environmental issues. An interest in a career in local government.

Agency representative

Suzanne Linfante