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Although Dallas residents are upping their game when it comes to recycling, there’s still a ways to go. On January 22, the city of Dallas’ Quality of Life, Arts & Culture Committee released an update on the city’s Zero Waste Plan, which was passed in February 2013 to increase sustainability and reduce waste, with phases and milestones at specific intervals. Results of surveys conducted August 2017 show that while medium to large commercial properties have good participation in the program and hotels are making progress, apartment participation progress has been slow.

To change this trend, the city council is considering requiring recycling service availability for all property sizes. Currently, the voluntary Zero Waste Plan applies to residential, multifamily and commercial tenants, and initiatives that have been implemented include accessibility mandates, disposal bans and review of advanced waste technologies.

Based on survey data, availability of recycling services to multifamily tenants isn’t expected to increase significantly. Results compiled by the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas (AAGD) found property managers reported barriers such as lack of space for recycling receptacles (37 percent); recycling not requested by owner/manager (33 percent); recycling not requested by residents (26 percent); and cost (25 percent).

Considerations for a Dallas ordinance would include requirement of recycling service availability for all property sizes. Optional requirements could exempt smaller properties, such as those with three to 19 units. The program would be implemented in phases over multiple years, according to the size of properties.

A possible plan would also require acceptance of materials that are highly recyclable and readily accepted by material recycling facilities. Those include number one and two plastics, aluminum, tin and metal cans, mixed paper and corrugated cardboard. Optional requirements would include glass, three through seven numbered plastics and rigid plastics.

The recycling capacity requirements under consideration are similar to other Texas cities and include measures such as requiring certain size properties to provide six-to-eight cubic yard recycling dumpsters that would be collected weekly; requiring recycling dumpster screening equivalent to trash dumpster screening requirements; and increasing landfill fees to support program management.

The January committee presentation documented that approximately 50 to 55 percent of the population in Dallas lives in multifamily units, which generates more than 25 percent of annual waste. The commercial sector represents more than 50 percent of the waste generated annually.

For more information and to view the presentation, visit



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