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Commercial Building Guidelines

Storage Facilities

A building's planned use and the waste management needs of those who will occupy the building will drive the design of garbage and recycling facilities. For example, retail tenants will have significant amounts of cardboard to recycle; food service establishments will have significant amounts of beverage containers and may require centralized collection bins for grease recycling.

A recycling service provider can greatly assist with analyzing a building's garbage and recycling needs based on future use.

1. Size
Storage facilities must be of a sufficient size to store garbage and recycling materials between collections. To reduce storage requirements, owners may choose to have frequent garbage and recycling collection or install compactors.

At a minimum, storage facilities must be able to accommodate containers for garbage and common "blue box" recyclables (food and beverage containers, recyclable paper, and cardboard). In some cases, commercial buildings may also require containers for grease and yard trimmings.

Storage facilities must be large enough to permit movement of containers, with "flex space" to accommodate bulky items or future recycling streams such as food waste. For container sizes and requirements see Containers for Garbage or Containers for Recycling.

2. Location
The garbage and recycling storage area should be located at ground level or no more than one storey below grade. The storage area should not block or impede any fire exits, public rights-of-ways or pedestrian and vehicular access. It should be convenient for tenants and for collection crews.

Ideally, the storage area is a separate internal room. If a room is not feasible, a shed or enclosure is a viable option. If those are not feasible, solid screening of containers is recommended. If the location cannot be secured with locked doors, locked containers will reduce use by people from outside the building.

3. Design
Storage facilities should be designed to allow bins to be accessed and moved easily. For the convenience of tenants, the facility design should allow recycling and garbage containers to be positioned within a reasonable distance from each other (no more than 1.5 metres or 5 feet). The area should be well ventilated, well lit, and rodent resistant.

Rules regarding combustible refuse storage apply here. Rooms for temporary storage of combustible refuse such as garbage or waste paper shall be separated from the remainder of the building by a fire separation with a fire-resistance rating of not less than 1 hour and be sprinklered, except as provided in the Building Code sentence 3.6.3.3(9).

Floors must be hard-surfaced (concrete is required if installing a compactor) and able to bear the weight of anticipated containers and materials. If collection vehicles will drive on the surface, the loading area must be constructed to handle the weight.