- Residents at multiple Northwest apartment complexes have been paying extra for recycling services that Florida-based Valet Waste isn't providing, as reported by KOIN.
- Multiple residents at a Portland, OR building first raised the issue of Valet employees placing their separated bags of recyclables into a trash compactor. KOIN confirmed this was also happening at three other local apartment buildings, as well as one in Vancouver, that are serviced by Valet.
- In a statement to KOIN, Valet said it has launched an "internal examination" though pointed out that contamination and varying recycling guidelines may be a factor. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has launched its own investigation into the claims.
According to Valet, the company specializes in multi-family housing and currently services about 450 management companies in the majority of states. The company was acquired by Ares Management and Harvest Partners last year.
Multi-family buildings or complexes have become a priority in many cities recently. The density can make collections easier, though it can also make non-participants more anonymous. Chicago faced heavy pushback from the local real estate industry over the summer for plans to begin enforcing recycling participation in buildings that have long been out of the loop. In Detroit, many apartment residents still don't have access to curbside collection.
Increasing participation and proper separation habits in multi-unit buildings is seen as a logical starting point for raising diversion rates, though these types of stories don't help instill confidence in residents. Whether it's due to expediency, lack of awareness or other reasons, workers do mix waste sometimes. As seen in Portland, ME recently one of the most best solutions may be to just admit it, adjust operations and move on.