Email May 3rd- recycling Greens

Posted on May 15th, 2009 in Correspondence by Kate Wade

Hi Judy, G H and Mr Ang,

Recently, Kate Wade and I walked from the top floor to the bottom floor of both Greenburg and Greenery, looking at all of the hopper rooms.

We started our walk at the room where the chute ends up on the ground floor. We were very happy to see that there were plastics and metals in there, and no non-recyclable items to be seen.

As you are aware, all of the hopper rooms have a chute which is used for metals and plastics, and a large garbage bin for rubbish which cannot be recycled.

There is no place to put paper for recycling, but there is a sign which says to put the paper in the designated area. The sign is incorrect in that it says the paper should not contain staples.

The signage on the main door to the room could be perceived as indicating that there is no recycling of papers at all. The sign which is located on the door would be more effective if it was located above the chute as it indicates that metals and plastic are to be put down the chute, and paper is NOT to be put down the chute.

In Greenburg, we did find a few rooms where someone has put cardboard boxes (lined with plastic bags) in front of the rubbish bin. We assumed that it was an attempt to make a place for papers but cannot be certain. There was a full rubbish bag placed in one of them.

We found that the rubbish bins were in most cases left close to the front of the hopper room instead of pushed back out of the way, making it difficult to reach the chute. This could be a deterrent to using the chute as it would be easier to just throw the recyclables into the rubbish bin. Although most of the rubbish had been removed from the floors before we arrived, we did have the opportunity to look into one bag where we found a mixture of rubbish and items that could easily have been recycled (plastic bottles and paper).

Regarding signage, we found that some rooms were missing signs, or the signs were shoved behind pipes, etc.

As mentioned above, the information on the signs is possibly not as clear and informative as it could be. We also found a sign on the hopper room doors telling residents to take cardboard boxes to Nim She Wan between 1pm and 4pm. We were under the impression that cardboard could be left either in the hopper rooms or next to the large recycling bins at the bottom of the buildings for the cleaners to take away. Has this changed? The sign also states that “all domestic refuse must be contained in plastic bags, sealed and them placed inside the refuse bin …”. This should state that all domestic refuse other than plastic, metals and paper …

We found that the light in the hopper rooms were generally left on in Greenery while they were almost all turned off in Greenburg, despite the signage requesting that the lights be turned off.

On the record sheet of amounts recycled located in the lobby area of each building, we saw that there were huge amounts of clothing recorded as having been recycled over the past three months. Considering there is no mention of recycling of clothing on any of the signage, we were surprised to see the large numbers. There is also a lot of paper recorded, which is amazing considering there is no designated place for paper to be placed in the hopper rooms.

Based on what we experienced, we have come to the following conclusions:
The cleaners should push the garbage bin to the back of the hopper room to clear the way for people to reach the chute. It would be possible to tie the bin to the pipe at the back of the room, but this may not be necessary if the cleaners follow this procedure.
There needs to be a receptacle for paper recycling.
The signage needs to be revisited. If I could get the soft copies of all of the signage that has been printed, I will put together some suggestions. There needs to be a sign (from the EPD) on the main door explaining what can and cannot be recycled. There should be a sign above the chute telling people to put metals and plastics only down the chute, no paper, and a third sign should indicate where the paper is to be placed.
The cleaners should turn off the light when they remove the rubbish from the room. (We realise this has nothing to do with recycling, but it is an environmental issue, and a cost saving exercise, so we felt it was pertinent to provide this feedback.)
We would like to do a trial in Greenburg and Greenery which would consist of the following small changes:

1. Change wording and position of the signs (please send us any soft copies of the signs and we can make the changes)
2. EPD stickers/posters with what can and can’t be recycled are missing. They are needed for every hopper room, preferably on the main door
3. Better sticking of the signs to the walls so that they don’t fall off

1. Rubbish bins should be pushed to the back end wall of the hopper room
2. Light switches should be turned off during the day
3. Cardboard boxes to be placed in each hopper room for paper (plastic bags are not necessary as there will only be paper inside)
4. Cleaners should note if signs have fallen off or are missing
5. Address the use of plastic bags to ensure that the minimal amount are used

1. The new signs translated, printed and laminated for each hopper room
2. Stickers/posters from EPD explaining what can and cannot be recycled
3. Someone to explain to the cleaners about this trial, what we would like them to do, and to observe over the period of the trial the changes to the quantity and any difficulties they encountered.
4. Cardboard boxes to be put into the rooms for the paper recycling. There should be a sign put on each box stating that it is for paper in English and Chinese. (Eventually it would be good to see a permanent receptacle for collecting paper but we can talk about that at some later point in time.)
5. A follow up on the amounts being recycled to ensure that the numbers are correct as they are unusually high for some items.

We found that there has been a great start to the recycling initiative in the Greens, and with a few minor changes, the results should improve.

We are keen to get started as soon as possible and we look forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience.

Dana Winograd

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  1. on May 25th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

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