Waste Reduction Strategies
Property Management and Realtors
- When doing construction/remodeling, contact local wood waste
processors who accept construction/renovation debris for recycling.
- Donate old furniture, office equipment, or outdated forms. These
materials can be used by many non-profits, schools, or other
organizations. Contact local homeless shelters or social service
organizations for potential recipients.
- Purchase reusable air filters or air filter frames. Completely
reusable air filters require cleaning with hot water (no soap);
reusable frames have a disposable filter insert. Some organizations
have found it cost effective to hire a firm that replaces filter
inserts on a regular schedule.
- Purchase longer lasting light bulbs. Incandescent light sockets
in exit sign can be converted to fluorescent. Check out availability
of rebates from your electric company.
- Purchase energy efficient plugs and sockets.
Realtors (From METRO)
- Show your clients how to conduct searches on-line.
Examples include the RMLS Internet site and PC Home Explorer.
Some buyers will enjoy the opportunity to review listings at home on
their computers and select properties that interest them. Instead of
printing all possible listings, only a few need to be printed.
Certain programs allow customers' requests to go directly to you.
- Don't try to impress buyers with reams of listings.
Develop a good understanding of what your client wants in
advance and use the sort functions in RMLS to narrow down the
choices. Then, print out only those listings that are a reasonably
- Take pictures of properties with a digital camera.
Digital cameras eliminate the need to process film and mail
pictures to RMLS for listings. All you have to do is send the
picture to RMLS electronically. That saves money and reduces the use
of film processing chemicals. If you take a roll of 24 pictures
every week, you can save $300 to $400 a year.
- Ask the flyer distribution companies to deliver one set of
flyers for the entire office instead of one set for each agent.
ERA Tualatin Valley Real Estate eliminated at least 2,000 sheets
of paper each month by making one set of flyers available to 16
- Encourage double-sided copying.
The copier at the Gresham branch of Oregon Realty is set to make
double-sided copies. For single-sided copies, the setting has to be
changed manually. Making double-sided copies also saves file space
and postage, as larger documents weigh less. If you mail five
10-page documents in an average week, copying double-sided will save
you $62/year in paper and postage.
- Send property listings to your clients by e-mail.
Compass Realty has made home buying easier for out-of-town
clients and has saved paper and postage by using e-mail. Pictures
and descriptions of properties can quickly and conveniently be sent
by e-mail instead of mailing paper copies of listings. The RMLS
intranet site also has e-mail capability.
- Buy paper with recycled content.
Century 21 Columbia Realty and ERA Tualatin Valley Real Estate
buy recycled copy paper, computer paper and paper towels. Oregon
First buys recycled content envelopes and file folders. Century 21
Columbia Realty also buys recycled stationery. Letterhead is printed
with the recycling symbol to illustrate the company's concern for
- Buy remanufactured toner cartridges.
Century 21 Columbia Realty has closed the loop on toner
cartridge reuse. The firm buys remanufactured toner cartridges from
Northwest Laser and then sends the old cartridges back to be
remanufactured and sold again. Remanufactured toner cartridges are
used by many professionals in the area and typically cost $20 to $50
less than new cartridges.
- Reuse paper for draft documents and internal memos.
The Beckers with the Portland West office of Oregon Realty Co.
reuse approximately two reams of paper each month by printing on the
back side of promotional flyers. This saves about $50 a year in
paper costs. Oregon First also uses the back side of paper for
- Reuse boxes.
The Gresham office of John L. Scott Realty saves old boxes and
gives them to clients when they are moving. This reduces waste and
provides a valuable customer service.
- Use voice mail to leave notices.
At the Gresham office of John L. Scott Realty, information such
as new listings and schedules for continuing education classes are
left on voice mail rather than printed notices. This saves at least
250 pieces of paper a week and $300 to $500 each year in paper and
- Use the back side of promotional flyers.
Agents at the Gresham branch of Oregon Realty are encouraged to
use the back side of the promotional flyers that they leave at sale
properties. The back side is used for information such as the
agent's resume, other properties for sale or general information.
- Circulate or post notices.
All notices at the Gresham office of John L. Scott Realty are
posted on a bulletin board instead of being distributed to each
agent. In an office of 20 people, posting a one-page weekly notice
rather than making copies will save as much as $50 in paper and copy
costs a year.
- Start a recycling program.
Employees at Century 21 Columbia Realty learn about the
company's recycling program for mixed waste paper, newspaper and
aluminum beverage containers on their first day during new employee
orientation. Making recycling easy and convenient is a key to
success. RE/MAX Prefered's recycling rate for white paper jumped
from 20% to 80% when small desk-side recycling containers were
placed in every office.
- Involve the entire office in the program.
Make sure everyone has clear, easy-to-follow instructions on
what and how to recycle (and what not to recycle). During one staff
meeting each month employees of ERA Tualatin Valley Real Estate are
asked for suggestions on how to improve the waste reduction program.
- Let your clients know about local opportunities to prevent
waste and recycle.
The Beckers with the Portland West office of Oregon Realty Co.
have handed out more than 100 Metro/PMAR "Green Kits" to clients.
The kits are packed with information on everything from how to
recycle curbside to alternatives to pesticides. The Beckers also
include helpful suggestions on how clients can help the environment
in their periodic client mailer.
- Use recycled and recyclable materials when making repairs.
- Obtain and recycle material through material exchanges.
Materials exchanges help businesses and institutions locate markets
for materials they have traditionally discarded and to find
materials suitable for reuse.
- Contact local wood waste processors who accept
construction/renovation debris for recycling.
- Recycling paper, corrugated cardboard and other items generated
in large quantities can sometimes be sold for income. Ask your waste
hauler to reduce the number of trash pick ups as the volume of trash
- Make recycling available to building tenants. Let them know that
by keeping garbage pick up fees down through recycling, you will be
able to keep rent costs from rising.
- Set up a "Box Exchange" for tenants by storing flattened
cardboard boxes for residents to use when moving or donate when they
are moving in.
For tips on composting and waste
prevention through environmentally friendly landscaping practices go
to: Waste Reduction Tips for Landscaping.
For more information visit these web sites:
- Composting Council of Canada
- Composting News
- Internet Recycling and Composting Resource Page
- Recyclers World central composting category
- US EPA composting