AUSTIN (KXAN) - Many Austin residents would like to recycle, but because their apartments or businesses doesn't offer collection services, they don't.
There are several small recycling centers throughout the city where residents can drop recyclable items if their apartments or workplaces don't collect it.
But beginning in just two weeks, the city will begin phasing in a plan to have even the smallest apartment complexes and businesses start collecting recycling.
"In Austin, we have some shared values," Aiden Cohen of Austin Resource Recovery said. "So there are a lot of people that want to recycle and that want access to recycling."
A law put into place in 1999 requires Austin-area apartments with more than 100 units to offer recycling pickup service for their residents.
But on Nov. 4, 2010, the Austin City Council approved a broad expansion of that law – the Universal Recycling Ordinance . This ordinance will require even much smaller apartments and businesses to start offering recycling collection, and will be phased in over the next three years – beginning on Oct. 1.
"The idea is to close the loop so that there is zero waste. Anything we are done with can be used in a new product or service," Cohen said.
The goal of the zero waste initiative is to divert 90 percent of solid waste from landfills and incinerators by 2040.
Apartments and businesses that don't currently offer recycling but would like to shouldn't be scared away by the costs.
Getting recyclable items out of the dumpster reduces the volume of trash – meaning that the building pays for fewer trash pickups. Oftentimes, this offsets any extra costs from adding recycling services.
Austin Resource Recovery has a team in place to help educate apartment complexes and businesses on how to recycle properly.
During the first year of this program's expansion, penalties for non-compliance will not be enforced very strictly.
"We're not out there to enforce the letter of the law right now," Cohen said. "We're mainly focusing on educating folks and getting Austin towards our zero-waste goal."
More details on the new recycling requirements for small apartment complexes and businesses can be found on the Universal Recycling Ordinance information page.
Citizens can also email any questions to email@example.com .
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