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Trash Chute vs. Trash Valet: Which One is Right for Your Building?

Residents who live in high-rise buildings have a unique lifestyle and different expectations for community living – even when it comes to their preference for disposing of garbage. Trash chutes and trash valet are typically the two options available for enclosed buildings in metropolitan areas. If you’re left making this complex decision for your building, here are some guidelines to help you decide which trash management solution is right for you. 

What is a Trash Chute?

A trash chute is a large, vertical tube in which garbage can be deposited at various points or trash chute rooms and collected in a single location. The trash chute spans multiple levels and each floor has a specific room that residents can use to access a portion of the chute. 

Trash Chute Installation Benefits

  • Convenience. Residents don’t have to adhere to a schedule - they can dispose of their trash at any time.
  • Appearance. Hallways appear cleaner because trash cans aren’t outside of each unit.
  • Cost. Installation is during the construction phase of the building and existing employees can receive maintenance training.

Trash Chute Cons

  • Maintenance. Because trash can get stuck in chutes and pile up in rooms, daily maintenance is required.
  • Conditions. There is a lot of science involved. It’s important to have the correct cleaning chemicals, fresheners, and air pressure throughout the year.
  • Recycling. Recycling isn’t always an option because all trash goes to the same place.
  • Repairs. While installation is inexpensive, repairs to the chute doors can be costly.
  • Location. The location may not be easily accessible for all units.  

What is Trash Valet?

Trash valet is a garbage pick-up service that a property can offer to residents. Residents place a provided trash can outside of their unit at a scheduled time, and an employee will empty the resident’s trash can and dispose of their garbage for them. After the trash has been discarded, residents are responsible for bringing the empty trash can back into their unit.

Trash Valet Benefits 

  • Convenience. Residents don’t have to carry heavy or dripping bags of trash down the hall or flights of stairs.
  • Volume. Trash won’t pile up and smell in units or trash chute rooms.
  • Recycling. Residents typically have the option to recycle because it’s sorted by hand.
  • Added value. Just like valet parking or a concierge, trash valet is another service that makes the high-rise more sellable and attractive.

Trash Valet Cons

  • Scheduling. Residents must adhere to a strict pickup schedule.
  • Enforcement. If residents don’t comply with the schedule, fines may be issued.  
  • Appearance. The trash cans can make hallways appear cluttered at times.
  • Cost. A staff member must be available to collect trash after hours, or outside vendors may need to be hired.

Overall, both trash chutes and trash valet have many benefits and challenges. While high-rise residents may live similar lifestyles, each building is different. Weigh your options carefully and choose what makes the most sense for your building. Regardless of your decision, always be consistent and set clear standards and expectations for the community.

About the Author

Ms. Stanfield has been a valued member of Somerset Association Management, an Associa company, for more than a year as a business development manager where she focuses on maximizing community efficiency, engagement, and growth. Ms. Stanfield has more than six years of community management experience with five years of on-site, multi-family management experience. She has overseen residential high-rise, mid-rise, and mixed-use properties as well as new construction, renovation, and converted industrial lofts in the Fort Worth, Dallas, and Denver markets. Ms. Stanfield has served in a variety of capacities including assistant manager, certified trainer associate, and business manager. Ms. Stanfield attended The University of Texas at Arlington where she was an active member of the music department and UTA Colorguard. Leah enjoys spending time at the dog park with her little guy, Shiner.

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