San Antonio’s Pathway to Zero Waste

San Antonio is creating a perception change for how residents view zero waste. The change started with how businesses create products, how people use them, and how solid waste is managed. The City’s underlying goal has been that all discarded materials be reused or recycled back into nature or into the production cycle, reaching a 60% recycling rate by 2020.
 
Thus, the 10 Year Recycling Resource Recovery Plan was born in 2010, allowing more than 150,000 multi-family residents to finally have access to recycling.

As part of the ordinance, it is required that owners or property managers of multifamily properties supply recycling containers, place containers in convenient locations, provide clear and visible signage, and distribute recycling information and instructions to residents. Properties with valet collection service are required to have a minimum of one recycling container on the premises. Prior to initiating recycling collection service, a “recycling plan” must be developed and approved by the Department. If the recycling plan is denied, the owner or property manager has 30 days from notification of the denial to submit a revised plan for approval. Owners or managers must also resubmit a recycling plan for review when the multifamily property has a change in ownership or management, a change in recycling collection services, or when the method of collection has changed (i.e., container type). 

On July 1 2011, the first phase of the multifamily ordinance came into effect for 300 units or more. As of Oct. 1 2011, the ordinance came into effect for 200-299 units. As of January 1 2012, the ordinance came into effect for 100-199 units. And finally, as of April 1st 2012, the final phase of the ordinance came into effect for 3-99 units.

The City’s Plan provides a roadmap for partnering with property owners and waste haulers to ensure that all multifamily residents have access to recycling. This goal will be met through improved recycling education, outreach, expanded collection programs that would collect multiple types of recyclable materials, the creation of waste reduction and recycling incentives, and the implementation of policies that would improve commercial recycling.
 
Failure to comply with the ordinance may result in possible fines. Owners or managers should take advantage of these beneficial offerings by the city:
 
  1. On-site recycling training and design services for property managers and employees.
  2. Development of cost-effective recycling programs that target revenue-generating commodities.
  3. Development of policies that ensure that all residents living in multifamily complexes have access to convenient recycling programs.
  4. Educational materials including guidebooks, step-by-step instructions for how to set-up and maintain a recycling program, and community posters for how to comply with the ordinance.
The City of San Antonio’s website hosts a plethora of information on multifamily recycling to ensure you are compliant.

Consider this: San Antonio is just one of many cities that has mandated multifamily recycling. Be sure you’re prepared if it hits your city or that you are in compliance if a mandate is already in place.
 
Click here to learn more about San Antonio's multifamily recycling initiatives.