Garbage in Strata Complexes
In recent years, the increase in rubbish and waste output became problematic for strata complexes and their management. The strain on communal rubbish-removal services is increasingly demanding strata property owner's attention. Rubbish handling and waste management are also pressing in strata complexes because one person's waste can become an entire community's problem.
Several factors contribute to the increase in personal waste. These factors include the popularity of meal delivery services, online shopping, a prominent decluttering trend, and an unwillingness to recycle plastic, paper, and glass.
We have also seen complexes built in recent years with smaller or insufficient common area bin rooms, that don’t allow for a reasonable number of bins to be stored/provided that matches the waste output.
The laws in regards to rubbish disposal in complexes are referred to in the Strata Titles Act (1985) - Schedule 2 By-laws - Subsection 6 states:
Depositing rubbish etc. on common property
A proprietor, occupier, or other resident of a lot, shall not deposit or throw upon that lot or any other lot or the common property any rubbish, dirt, dust or other material likely to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of another proprietor, occupier or of resident or any person lawfully using the common property.
Whilst this strata law is clear in regards to correct disposal, the management of the process can become onerous.
Below, we look at some tips to streamline garbage disposal in strata complexes.
Tips for Smooth Management of Garbage
Re-issue Waste Disposal By-laws
One of the first steps to fix waste issues is to establish a by-law with clear waste management procedures. A strata complex should have clearly defined rules about waste management. The regulations should also highlight the consequences of breaking these rules. Owners and Residents are generally not aware that a Strata complex may have standard as well as additional registered by-laws and fines, it would be prudent to circulate or re-issue these by-laws regularly.
If the complex does not have a clear waste management by-law or a fine by-law then the Strata Company can liaise and engage a specialist Strata Consultant to explain the process of establishing such a by-law.
Provide Residents with Waste Disposal Guidelines
In some cases, residents may not know how to dispose of their garbage properly or understand that waste disposal varies in each complex. There are many best practice guidelines/house rules available that you can distribute to all residents on a regular basis, issue it to all new Owners, share on the community’s online group or stick to the common property notice board or waste area.
Allocate Collection Points for Packaging Waste
The packaging of large products like furniture, appliances, and electronics can be a challenge to dispose of. Large cartons and polystyrene packaging may be too large for waste chutes or cumbersome to pack down into bins. These materials can also cause blockages and fill bins prematurely.
Setting up dedicated collection points or scheduled waste skip bins for this type of waste can effectively solve this problem. When people don’t have to deal with bulky waste, it leaves their disposal systems open to more manageable garbage. Scheduled waste skip bins also encourage residents to regularly attend to cleaning and waste disposal, being mindful of waste management.
Review Access & Facilities for Garbage Disposal Systems
Residents in the strata complex should be able to access garbage disposal facilities. If there are accessibility issues, it can result in a lack of waste management. It is also important to ensure that the waste management area has sufficient bins and the correct balance of general and recycling waste options. There may also be potential to add separate green waste disposal facilities. Strata complexes with limited communal bin space and gardens, organise separate private green waste removal to ensure general waste bins are not filled prematurely.
Incorrectly Disposed Waste
Regardless of implementing a number of waste management practices, there is still a small number of residents and sometimes visitors who will incorrectly dispose of waste. Vehicles, mattresses, large boxes and stolen property, can at times be left on common property. In these instances, it’s important that you use other resources to establish where the waste has originated, and deter other residents from contributing to the issue.
You can issue multiple notices but if a resident, visitor or unwanted guest disposes of waste incorrectly at the complex, then you need to have protocols in place. When waste is disposed of incorrectly, on many occasions others may add to the waste or use it as an indicator that its acceptable to do the same in future.
Protocols can include:
- Ensuring all lots advise of new residents moving in or out to the Strata Manager
- Active on-site residents or contractors who advise the Strata Manager immediately when waste has been disposed of incorrectly
- Accessing the security vision of the complex
- Issuing of notices when incorrect waste disposal has been noted and
- Issuing applicable costs and fines
A proper waste management system is crucial to limit costs in regards to additional waste disposal, prevent the outbreak of pest infestations and to mitigate fire risks. Empire Estate Agents has been assisting Owners in Strata complexes since 2003 and provides professional strata management services in Perth.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about our effective strata waste management solutions.
About the author
Julie George is a Senior Strata Manager at Empire Estate Agents in Victoria Park. Julie has over a decade of experience in Property & Strata Management and also more than 15 years of experience managing a successful family business and her own strata property investment portfolio. Julie is known for her warm and friendly manner, honest, forward approach, winning the confidence of clients and building successful working relationships.