The city of Austin, Texas, has begun requiring owners of large multifamily apartment complexes and commercial office buildings to provide recycling services for their customers, tenants and employees. The ordinance is part of Austin’s plan to reach its zero-waste goal of diverting 90 percent of materials from landfills by 2040, according to a city of Austin news release.
In the first year, the ordinance will affect multi-family apartments with more than 75 dwelling units and commercial office buildings larger than 100,000 square feet to provide service. The ordinance will be phased in over the next four years, requiring more than 4,500 properties to offer recycling services by October 2015.
“The city of Austin collects recyclables primarily from residential units,” says Bob Gedert, the director of the Austin Resource Recovery department. “In order to get to zero waste, we need to work with commercial property owners to encourage recycling more and wasting less.”
Affected properties will be required to provide convenient access to recycling and must offer recycling of the following five materials at a minimum: mixed paper, corrugated cardboard, glass bottles and jars, #1 (PET) and #2 (HDPE) plastic containers and aluminum cans.
To help businesses maximize diversion, Austin Resource Recovery’s staff will provide free consulting for property owners, including on-site technical assessments and training.
“The city of Austin is dedicated to helping property owners implement successful recycling programs, and our professional staff is available to offer guidance and answer questions,” says Aiden Cohen, Austin Resource Recovery program manager. “During this first year, we’re focusing on educating the community and familiarizing affected businesses with ordinance requirements.”
In addition to recycling access, property owners will also be asked to provide the following:
- Sufficient recycling capacity (dependent upon property type);
- Informational signage in English and Spanish;
- Annual education for tenants and employees; and
- Completion of an annual Recycling Plan form (available in coming months).