Although the health effects of lifting such containers have come under close scrutiny, evidence from New York City suggests that these along with a recycling superintendent greatly improve figures for high rise buildings.
It wiped out the 10% contamination level for collections and helped the city push on to a level of 17% for recycling.
Dealing with collections has caused headaches in the UK, but New York found a very high level of contamination arose when using wheelie bins and mixed collections. By providing residents with boxes and stipulating everything should be separated in bags or containers, the situation greatly improved.
Addressing delegates at the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee Conference 2006, New York City deputy director for recycling Samantha MacBride said: It is quite different from how things operate here and even most other US states, but the system works quite well.
People are told where to take their waste, whether it is on the same floor or to the basement and told to separate it first. It is then the job of a superintendent to bale or bag all the different waste streams and leave them on the kerb ready for a once a week collection.
While residents are given initial responsibility for different streams such as plastics, papers, food waste and cans, the provision of a superintendent who checks for contamination provides a middle man who is able to regulate what goes on to the council vehicle.
Similar systems have also been implemented in Chicago and Boston and could have implications for high rise buildings in the UK, with the Scottish Executive in particular recently showing concern at the low levels of participation from people living in tenements.
The distance of recycling centres from the half a million Scots living in such buildings was partly blamed, while it pledged £47 million from its Strategic Waste Fund to help counter the problem over the next 14 years.