Although commercial building stock varies physically in many ways and may include a combination of commercial, residential and institutional square footage, the management of commercial waste within buildings can be broadly categorized by four typologies.

typology 1

Stairs or Ramp to Sidewalk

In the simplest scenario, businesses bring waste straight to the sidewalk, sometimes through a sidewalk hatch. There may be some storage in wheeled bins in a backyard or within the tenant space, but trash and recycling is generally set out in bags while organics are generally brought to the curb in two- or four-wheel bins.

This arrangement is typical for small restaurants and stores, which are generally in buildings with one or two stories of commercial space and sometimes a cellar below and residential apartments above.

typology 2

Elevator to Sidewalk

This typology is common in multi-tenant office buildings with elevators but no shared storage space. Before being taken to the street for setout, waste is stored in the tenant area, moved by the tenant or collected by building staff at a set time in bins on dollies or tilt trucks.

Floors are serviced daily via the service or passenger elevator. Facilities or cleaning staff members generally use one bin to transport all streams, so standardized procedures need to be followed to appropriately separate types of materials at the curb to avoid contamination.

Setout for refuse and recyclables is typically in bags, while organics are generally set out in wheeled bins.

typology 3

Elevator to Shared Storage

Some large multi-tenant buildings, such as those with office, hotel, university or retail uses, provide shared storage space. Waste is collected from tenant areas, placed in transport bins and taken by service or passenger elevator to the shared storage space where there may be balers.

Waste can be brought to the storage space by building maintenance staff or tenants. Setout may be in 1–2 cu yd containers, wheeled bins or bags.

typology 4

Service Elevator to Shared Compactors

The ideal situation for large multi-tenant buildings is shared compactor-containers, which may be exterior or in an interior loading area. Waste is collected from tenant areas, placed in transport bins and taken by service elevator to the shared container compactors and other bins. Building or tenant maintenance staff can bring waste to the storage space.

Automatic pressure detection can tell the hauler when the compactor is almost full and ready for collection; it is then removed by truck and returned empty. ID tags can be required for opening the compactor doors so that individual tenants can be charged for the number of times the compactor is used, or a scale can be included to charge by weight.

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