Nudge ideas for residents: chute and garbage take out

Wouldn’t it be nice

…if all residents simply followed the guidelines for garbage, cut all their boxes, looked at the size of the chutes and the size of the garbage they want to dispose of and just made life easier for supers and managers?

It is likely that some new residents don’t know where to put large items and have never thought much about it. Out of sight …out of mind.  There are several things that can be done to remind residents of how to behave:

  • occasional reminders to the whole building can work either in text, voice or email form.
  • putting notices in newsletters
  •       reminders on the elevator digital boards if you use them. 

What can you include?

  • Remind people that blocked chutes affect all residents both on the floor plugged and for those above and below. Garbage that collects in the chute creates hallway smells and odours in nearby units.
  • Remind people to take pizza boxes to recycling downstairs because they tend to open on the way down and block the chute (this description may help people understand why they should not be put down rather than sounding like a ‘rule’).
  • Let people know of the costs of chute blockages – all residents pay for blocked chutes in fees after all (either in fees directly or in rents indirectly).
  • Remind people that leaving bags on the chute room floor encourages others to do the same – making bad smells worse and more often.
  • Let people know that not closing bags properly or emptying cat litter directly from the litter box means the chutes themselves get dirty and this causes really bad smells.
  • Keep telling people not to put broken small appliances (cords get stuck), Christmas trees, bedding and larger items in the chute as they create blockages
  • Provide a link to your local municipality ‘what goes where’ webpage. 

Other options for waste management

  • Some condos install security cameras in chute rooms so that offenders can be fined. This option really depends on the building, the habits and manager and Board considerations of what tone needs to be set.
  • Several condos have charity collection bins set up so residents can feel good about their items being re-used by someone who needs them.
  • Some condos set up and advertise charity pick up for larger items and furniture. There may be pick up charges, but these may be nominal.  While this may concentrate large items in a given period, you will likely reduce regular large item disposal.

Garbage Chute Rules...or suggestions

Occaisionally, managers allow lots of signage in the chute room as this is a place all residents go. As elevator signage becomes more common, fewer notices are placed in chute rooms which is a good thing as people don’t really linger in the area.

Useful signage can include chute room etiquette signs and ‘what goes where’ garbage notices.

Here are some to download (free) if you want.

Garbage ettiquette
Please be considerate message
Garbage rules

And here are a couple of jpgs for newsletters

Garbage Chute Systems (what goes where)

Several municipalities have signage available for ‘what goes where’.  Rather than put existing ones
here we’ve listed links to the sites so they remain up-to-date. 

Here are some local links:

Durham link                                     Toronto                                                                                              

Halton link                                         York Region

Markham                                            Oakville and Halton

Peel Region


Pro-Active Odor Control