Better late than never, Dallas apartments will have to recycle

Credit: Danny Fulgencio

The Dallas City Council Wednesday unanimously approved an ordinance that will require multifamily buildings to make it easier for apartment and other multifamily residents to recycle.

Landlords will have until January 2020 to provide recycling dumpsters, roll carts, bins or compactors. There will be some flexibility there. City staff will help implement the service, by creating an in-depth recycling guide, according the council agenda.

This has been a long time coming, as multifamily buildings and boutique complexes pop up in place of dilapidated old homes throughout the city. Not to mention that northeast Dallas alone has tens of thousands of apartment units. Downtown high-rise residential buildings are occupied as never before. It’s a shame we didn’t get this done sooner, but at least it’s happening.

We tried to find out what was going on with multifamily recycling months ago, and no one at the city seemed to have many answers.

I spent some time obsessing about this and pondering the true implications following last year’s Dallas Advocate feature about recycling. In March 2017, the magazine highlighted the city’s new $20 million recycling center. Also discovered was that Dallas is one of the worst cities in the nation when it comes to recycling.

Before, and until the new rules are in place, renters can dump recyclable materials in a box of their own, load it into the car and drive it to a recycling drop-off location. Admittedly, this is a pain in the ass and most people do not do it.

Overall about 30 percent of Dallas’ apartments offer some form of recycling. Dallas, like many cities, has a Zero Waste program, intended to eventually eliminate trash from landfills altogether, making all things recyclable. 

A Zero Waste rep said over the phone about a month ago that they definitely were working with the city council to improve — to make apartment recycling accessible and mandatory, but she referred me to supervisor Danielle McClelland (unfortunately her line rings endlessly with no answer or voicemail).  

Dallas’ recycling rate has not improved since the city passed its “zero-waste plan” in 2013.

But, cheers! To a big step in the right direction. (Now recycle that bottle.)

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