Recycling: How to Improve Resident Compliance

Recycling is mandatory in New York City, with the goal of decreasing the 12,000 TONS of garbage that must be exported out of the City every single day. While 77% of this waste is recyclable, only 20% is actually being recycled currently. Since the closing of the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island in 2001, there has been no landfill in the City of New York. There is also no incinerator, so all our garbage must be exported for separation, treatment and disposal, at a huge expense to taxpayers.

Residents in multi-family buildings recycle at just half the rate of those in single-family homes, for a variety of reasons, ranging from anonymity of disposal to lack of information, poor communication and lack of financial incentives.

Some buildings have had great success in their recycling efforts, using a variety of strategies, including the following:

• Communication: Be sure to provide clear signage and well-marked receptacles in all garbage rooms. The Department of Sanitation will provide free signs to display. Inform existing residents as well as new buyers who are moving in. Hold an informational/social event to inform residents, such as a lobby drop-in to hand out organics pails and recycling bags.

• Education: Take advantage of all 3 additional Department of Sanitation curbside collection services for buildings of 10 units or more: organics, clothing and the e-cycle program for electronics. Inform residents of all these programs and provide bins in the basement for these specialized items.

• Containers: The City gives out free organics pails that can be distributed to residents.

• Enforcement: Gentle enforcement is key to compliance. Some buildings impose fines after a third offense. The board should decide what is the best strategy for your building.

• Rewards: Thank people for good recycling efforts. Some buildings have even held a pizza party for staff and residents as a thank you for good recycling compliance.

• Create a Team: Create a team of owners, residents, managers, and building staff to work together to make the system work. The board may want to appoint a committee to research and implement a plan to improve recycling in your building.

• Convey the Benefits: Saving money on chute cleaning, reducing policing efforts by staff, avoiding fines, preventing rats, improving staff morale if recycling rules are followed—these are some of the benefits of recycling. Collecting organics can help cut down on rats because all the food is placed in completely airtight containers, and not in garbage bags that can rip and leak and that rats and other pests can bite through. And the long-term goal is to reduce the City’s waste removal costs…which will save taxpayers money.

• Education: Free training for staff is available through Union 32BJ and also at the Department of Sanitation.

• More Information: Visit to download recycling guides and info and to learn more about how to educate your staff and residents to help improve recycling in your building.

fresh kills

The former Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island was closed in 2001 and has since been reclaimed as a beautiful public park. Reducing NYC’s waste stream through recycling can help reduce the 12,000 tons of garbage we export daily…by as much as 60%, if New Yorkers are committed to the program.

DEPM Building Staff Honored for Outstanding Work

For their exemplary work and long-term service, John Battle was named Doorman of the Year by Union 32BJ, and Robert Andrzejewski was named Resident Manager of the Year by the New York Association of Realty Managers (NYARM). John received his award at the Annual Building Service Workers Awards ceremony this Fall, and Robert will be honored in April at NYARM’s annual awards gala.
John was chosen due to the long-lasting friendships, honesty, and hard-working nature he has brought to the job for the past 24 years as doorman for the DEPM-managed Eastwood Towers at 355 East 72nd Street. “We are so proud that John has been named Doorman of the Year for 2014,” says John Janangelo, Executive Vice President of DEPM. “Congratulations to him for this outstanding honor.”
Yolanda Queen, Property Manager for the building, added, “Part of our job as managers is to ensure that every building has a great staff. The doormen are the most public presence in any building, and their attitude and attention make a real difference to every resident and their visitors. We greatly appreciate John’s positive outlook and genuine concern for the residents of Eastwood Towers.”
Robert Andrzejewski is Resident Manager at the DEPM-managed Charleston Condominium at 225 East 34th Street. Many of his colleagues will be there on April 24th to cheer him on as he accepts his award.
“Rob knows his job and does it well 150% of the time,” says DEPM Property Manager Sharon Langlais. “I trust him, the Board trusts him, and most importantly, the residents of The Charleston trust and respect him. He’s the Resident Manager that will stay up all night to make sure a problem in the building is resolved. He is dedicated and very loyal. The building is well maintained, the staff is top notch and that’s because of Rob. If anyone deserves this award, it’s him. He makes my job easier, and as a Property Manager in NYC you can’t ask for more.”
“Robert is a very special person,” says Margie Russell, Executive Director of NYARM. “He is ready to accept new ideas and move ahead, always with a smile. He is a shining example of the kind of person Jim is very good at attracting and keeping on the DEPM team,” she adds, referring to Jim O’Connor, President of Douglas Elliman Property Management.

Rob Andrzejewski and his wife Ela. Rob will receive NYARM's Resident Manager of the Year award at their April 24th Gala for his work at  the DEPM-managed Charleston Condominium on East 34th Street.

Rob Andrzejewski and his wife Ela. Rob will receive NYARM’s Resident Manager of the Year award at their April 24th Gala for his work at the DEPM-managed Charleston Condominium on East 34th Street.

Agreement Reached with Building Workers

Looks like you can put away those temporary ID cards…an agreement has been reached between building owners and Union 32BJ/SEIU building workers, which means a strike has been avoided. Pending ratification, the new contract will go into effect, replacing the current one which expires April 20th. The new agreement, which includes salary increases and continuing health care benefits, will last four more years.

April 20th Deadline Looms For Building Workers’ New Contract

At midnight on April 20th, the current contract of the building service workers Union 32BJ, the local arm of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), expires. If the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations (RAB), which represents building owners, and union leaders don’t reach a new agreement before then, union members have agreed that they will walk out on the job. The contract in question covers more than 30,000 building staff in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, and a walkout of this magnitude would have enormous implications for property owners, managers and residents all over the City. The last building workers strike, which took place in 1991, lasted 12 days, and left apartment owners on their own to bring out the trash, guard the front door, handle deliveries, hail cabs, and a host of other day-to-day tasks usually managed by doormen, handymen, porters and supers.

Since then, the union contract has successfully been renegotiated without a walkout. This year, negotiations began in late February and both sides remain optimistic that a mutually agreeable contract will be drawn up before the April 20th deadline.

On April 2nd, thousands of union members rallied in Manhattan in support of the union’s demand for raises, continued health care and retirement benefits, agreeing to walk off the job if their demands are not met by the April 20th deadline. Speaking to marchers at the rally, Union President Hector Figueroa stated, “With record high rents across the city, it’s time for our raise.” Negotiations resume April 8th, with hopes that the talks will be successful.

On April 2nd, building workers marched in support of union demands for higher wages.

On April 2nd, building workers marched in support of union demands for higher wages.

RAB President Howard Rothschild released a statement last week regarding the rally and vote, saying, “Negotiations with the Union are going extremely well so far because we are both committed to the same goal: reaching a fair contract that includes wage increases and protects the generous health and pension benefits that workers enjoy today.”

While we at Douglas Elliman Property Management are hoping for a positive outcome to the negotiations, our managers always prepare their buildings for any eventuality. By creating systems for resident volunteers to take over the jobs of building staff in the unfortunate event of a walkout, and keeping unit owners informed, we will do our best to make sure that every building runs smoothly and safely without interruption. Our 24/7 Strike Committee and Information Hotline are continuously monitoring the situation and are ready to implement plans if a strike occurs. Keep checking our Facebook page ( and this blog for updates, where we will continue to keep you informed of the latest news on the contract negotiations.

At midnight April 20th the current union contract with building workers expires.

At midnight April 20th the current union contract with building workers expires.