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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Operations > Standard Operating Procedures for Green and Sustainable Business Operations > Recycling Business Waste Into Resources

San Diego Adopts Mandatory Recycling in Large Buildings & Multi-family Housing

Mandatory recycling in San Diego can save money on waste management

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SAN DIEGO – February 19, 2008 Major commercial buildings, large multifamily housing complexes and events requiring a permit in San Diego must offer recycling starting in February, 2008.

The order, issued by the San Diego City Council in November, took effect immediately.

It is part of a strategy designed to increase recycling by 100,000 tons a year and keep the city above California's mandate to reuse or recycle at least 50 percent of the city's waste stream. The moves also are meant to help save space at the San Diego-owned Miramar Landfill, which is scheduled to close by 2013.

City officials said about two-thirds of the trash at that landfill is recyclable, including huge amounts of paper from offices and homes.

The rules affect about 2,900 commercial properties and roughly 175 multifamily complexes. They also pertain to some single-family homeowners, most of whom already have recycling service.

By Jan. 1, 2010, the recycling ordinance will cover all homes and businesses in the city. The few exceptions will include those for sites that generate very little waste and places with extremely tight space restrictions.

Under the new regulations, property owners and managers must offer recycling for plastic and glass bottles and jars, paper, newspapers, metal containers and cardboard. Their facilities must have areas designated for recycling bins and signs that explain what should be recycled.

Mandatory recycling will help the bottom line for large businesses and housing complexes, San Diego officials say.

"Replacing three trash (bins) with recycling (bins) at a typical large apartment complex can save an estimated $1,500 per year," said Chris Gonaver, director of the city's Environmental Services Department.

The city set the rules so that landlords are responsible for providing recycling bins but aren't liable if residents don't recycle.

It's also good for recycling companies such as Express Waste & Recycling in Sorrento Valley. Phone calls are coming in from people just asking them to come to their office and explain to them how they can start a recycling program or increase participation.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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