Garbage Chute Jams & Proper Recycling: "Chute For the Stars"
Emerald City One is a tall building that houses nearly 500 units. As you can imagine, in a high-rise like this, we produce a startling amount of garbage and recycling. Out of our 36 residential floors in the tower, 35 of them use the garbage chute system with access via a refuse room on each level. At the very bottom the shaft all that garbage and recycling is separated by pressing the appropriate buttons before throwing down your waste.
What separates it all is called a Tri-sorter and it does this with a shifting motorized metal plate. The recycling piles into a bin after coming down the chute. Refuse gets put into a compactor which compresses the waste to make disposal more efficient. The compactor uses a sensor to activate and start crushing garbage; it is very similar to the ones used with the overhead garage doors in the underground parking levels. Something moves in front of the sensor and the compactor starts and won’t stop under there isn’t anything left in front of it.
Despite our greatest efforts- which include articles like this one, posted notices on the television screens and word of mouth from the management team and staff members- we continue to have issues with people putting inappropriate items down the garbage chute. I know that some of you are asking, how big of a deal can it possibly be? Well, the answer is pretty big actually. The items coming down the shaft have been everything but the Kitchen sink and that includes the counter top.
In just this past year, we have had…
solid furniture items such as chairs, desks and full shelving units.
household items such as curtain rods and blinds.
Renovation materials such as flooring, tile, drywall, wood, metal and granite.
We get a lot of carpets (not just small bathroom rugs mind you, full sized area rugs and ripped up bedroom carpet) and bedding.
Items like these are not meant for a waste removal system like this. They damage the chute, get caught on the shifting motorized plate, get lodged and act like a shelf, holding up any other refuse that falls on top of it. It damages the compactor because it is not designed to crush metal, wood or stone.
Out of everything mentioned, carboard remains the Tri-sorters’ and Compactors’ Achilles heel. We are fortunate to have an IKEA location so close to our home. However, items purchased from there seem to make up the bulk of Cardboard that manages to make its way into the garbage chute. These boxes are big. Really big. It doesn’t matter if you manage to fold it enough to get it into the opening. Once you let it go, it unfolds inside the chute which makes it nearly impossible for it to reach the bottom. If it does make it, it must get past a bend at the bottom of the shaft, past the tri-sorting plate and into a bin. Cardboard is large recycling; it isn’t meant to go into the compactor yet it is the most common item to cause a garbage jam.
Why is a chute jam so terrible? Here is a small list:
Negative pressure (air/wind) goes up the compactor, up the shaft and exits at the roof through a stack. If garbage is stuck, the air still pushes past it and brings the smell of all that collected refuse, with it. That is the number one cause of garbage smells on the residential floors when they occur.
When the Garbage chute is blocked, nothing coming down at that point is separated. Because it is stuck above the sorting system. At that point, it doesn’t matter if you press one of the buttons, the recycling or refuse will simply land on top of what is already stuck.
Having that much weight or any of the above-mentioned items can cause damage to the Tri-sorter and compactor. Which accrue costs for repair and can disrupt the building’s waste disposal. When major repairs need to be undertaken, the garbage refuse rooms on each floor and the garbage room must be closed and all recycling and waste need to be brought down to an alternate area provided.
Please, keep everything in mind when disposing your recycling and waste. There is a donation bin for gently used household items and clothing located in the moving room. There are recycling areas for cardboard located on P2, P3 and P4. Large garbage bags that are tied and not leaking can be brought down and placed in front of the garbage room door outside of the building, close to the moving room. We have carefully placed signs and instructions for waste and recycling disposal on each floor in the refuse rooms and in each disposal area. You can find information and articles like this one on the Emerald City Website (especially in the Blog section!) or for clarification/more information, you can contact either the concierge or the property management team.
Thank you for your cooperation!
Douglas Carney, Emerald City One Superintendent