Hundreds of Austin businesses must now recycle

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Starting Wednesday, nearly 1,000 businesses and hotels within the city of Austin will be required to recycle. It’s all part of the city’s Universal Recycling Ordinance that was passed in 2011. The phased in ordinance impacts various businesses on Oct. 1 of each year based on square footage.

At The Domain, more than 100 shops and restaurants will now have a single-stream Dumpster for their recycling. Cardboard in particular with all the shipments that come in. But instead of going to the landfill, it’s now headed off to the recycling plant.

“We have a recycling container that accepts single stream so the tenants can bring out their cardboard, their plastics, their aluminum,” said Lea Willingham, The Domain property manager.

Last year, The Domain added in the single-stream Dumpsters to get ready for the city’s ordinance that would require them to recycle. Getting shops on board with the change has taken some time.

“It’s a constant education, we send out memos, and newsletters, and we talk about it at tenant meetings,” said Willingham.

The city of Austin’s Resource Recovery has also been educating businesses about the changes that are phased in. This year it impacts any retail, hotel or manufacturing plant that has more than 50,000 square feet. Oversight of the ordinance is done by the business providing an annual report to the city on how much they recycled.

“If a property is not making a good-faith efforts to comply with the ordinance, then we can — and have referred three cases to Code Compliance,” said Austin Resource Recovery Program Manager Aiden Cohen.

So far the property manager at the Domain feels their recycling efforts are off to a good start.

“We’ve recycled through July, 234,000 pounds of recyclable materials is what we have recycled from The Domain,” said Willingham.

The ordinance requires businesses to recycle plastic, cardboard, glass, aluminum, and paper. By 2017, all businesses and apartments within the city must recycle, and in 2018 grocery stores, restaurants and bars must recycle all of their organic material.

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