Austin’s Universal Recycling Ordinance

Beginning October 1, 2012, more Austin residents residing in multifamily communities will have access to onsite recycling.

The Commercial Multifamily Recycling Ordinance (CMFRO) was enacted in 1999, which established recycling in multifamily communities with over 100 units. The program required that apartments collect a minimum of four materials. The Austin City Council approved changes to the CMFRO on November 4, 2010. The revised ordinance detailed a four year phase-in to service more multifamily properties and was renamed the Universal Recycling Ordinance.

The Universal Recycling Ordinance demonstrates Austin’s commitment to reach its Zero Waste goal by 2040. This goal would reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills by 90 percent, making Austin the nation’s Zero Waste leader. California is a close second at a 75 percent recycling goal. According to Austin’s Resource Recovery Director, Bob Gedert, the Zero Waste goal will reduce the City’s dependence on landfills, reduce its greenhouse gasses, and generate new green jobs in the community.

This four year phase-in will result in 4,500 multifamily recycling properties. On October 1, 2012, the first phase will come into effect for communities with75 units or more. As of October 1, 2013, the Ordinance will come into effect for 50 units or more. As of October 1, 2014, the Ordinance will come into effect for 26 units or more. For properties with 26 or less units, the date will be determined when the city makes single-stream recycling services available on the premises.

Some requirements include single-stream collection of at least paper, plastics #1 and #2, aluminum, cardboard, and glass. Property managers will need to provide recycling information and instructions annually, to new tenants no later than the seventh day of occupancy, and to all tenants no later than the thirtieth day after a change in the recycling service. Additionally, each designated collection container shall be affixed with a recycling symbol, the type of materials accepted in English and Spanish, and the term “Recycling”. Be sure to review the City’s website to ensure compliance asrequirements will be enforced.

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