The best way to maximize composting and recycling in multistory buildings is to provide centralized collection bins in a well-ventilated, clean, ground-floor room.
For residential complexes, a common recycling area that serves multiple buildings may save maintenance staff labor, as well as provide more program visibility and education opportunities to residents, leading to higher participation. Developments of three or more stories have often included chutes to convey garbage from each floor down to a collection bin in a ground-floor trash room. Chutes became popular for their convenience and because they helped keep stairwells and elevators clean, since residents did not need to carry discards down themselves.
However, with the spread of composting and recycling collection, chutes are now a major impediment to providing equal access to all three streams, and particularly to compost, which often causes problems in chutes. The best way to avoid these problems is in the design phase, where chutes can be kept out of the picture.
In cases where chutes cannot be avoided, one solution could be to use a “carousel” or “diverter chute” system such as those developed by Wilkinson Hi-Rise, LLC (www.whrise.com). However, this should be done with full awareness of the maintenance requirements of such systems, especially when used for source separated organics.