Athens, GA-Apartment complexes and businesses would have to provide recycling for tenets, customers and employees under a law the Athens-Clarke Commission will vote on next month.
The mandatory commercial customer recycling policy is part of an effort to improve recycling rates in Athens.
“Recycling has been voluntary in Athens for years,” Athens-Clarke Waste Reduction Administrator Suki Janssen said. “We’ve incentivized it, but the numbers are still unacceptable.”
The policy is part of a set of recommendations from a citizen committee, the Solid Waste Task Force, former Mayor Heidi Davison appointed in 2009.
The proposed law defines commercial customers as structures that house more than two families — apartment complexes, townhomes, sorority and fraternity houses and hotels — or businesses engaged in profit, non-profit, or public service activities.
Mandatory recycling would help achieve goals the commission set in 2010 for diverting waste from the county landfill. These goals call for increasing recycling by 40 percent by 2015, 60 percent by 2018 and 75 percent by 2020.
Haulers will provide bins and large trash receptacles to commercial customers and can charge them for providing the service.
The new policy will cost $100,000 for start-up education and a new position at the Solid Waste Departmentto oversee the program. A 60 cent monthly fee for households, $1.50 for businesses, the commission approved in 2010 will cover the expense.
If the the law passes, businesses and apartment complexes that don’t offer recycling will face a warning, then fines. The money generated by the fines would go back into the mandatory recycling program.
“We don’t want to write something that can’t be enforced,” Janssen said. “We want businesses to know that we are here to help them to provide better recycling. We can help to identify recyclable items, come out and do recycling education and technical support, and we can even offer some static displays.”
Apartments are specifically targeted by the law, and while some Athens apartment complexes offer recycling, others do not. Property managers cite space, cost, and concerns about people throwing trash into recycling bins as reasons why they don’t offer recycling.
“The reason why we’re not recycling at this time is because of cost, the dumpsters and pickup can be costly, especially for a small complex like ours,” said Debbie Gordy, a manager at Carousel Village Apartments. “But also because we’re worried that people will use recycling for their trash, and that will just be another job our employees have to compensate for. Also there are several recycling drop-off sites available nearby.”
Lauren Council, a tenet at Legacy Mill Apartments, said she is satisfied with her recycling options at the complex.
“I live at Legacy Mill and recycle,” Council said.
“It’s set up conveniently and I really like knowing that I’m actually recycling and have the option. It makes me buy more water bottles. I don’t feel so bad.”
The commission is scheduled to vote on the law June 5.
Source: Athens-Banner Herald
Although Multi-Family properties should have the choice on whether to implement recycling program or not…
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