An ordinance passed Nov. 5 by Atlanta City Council mandates stronger disposable waste recycling efforts after July 1, 2008, for owners of apartment, condominium, townhouse or public housing multi-family complexes consisting of six or more units.

Currently, the city of Atlanta requires the owners of these multi-family complexes consisting of six or more living units to furnish commercial containers for the collection at a minimum of recyclable materials the city collects as part of its curbside recycling program—glass, plastics, newspapers, aluminum cans, junk mail, magazines and phone books.

After July 1, 2008 the owners of those dwellings will be required to make sure those containers are capable of holding an adequate amount of recyclable waste and no less than three gallons multiplied by the number of living units in the development.

“Recycling should be made easy and convenient for all residents of multi-family dwellings, and citizens. Residents of these dwellings, especially in our high-rises, have expressed a strong desire and a need to recycle,” said District 8 City Councilmember Clair Muller, the legislation’s sponsor. “We all must do our part for the sake of our environment.”

Also under the new ordinance, the owners of a multi-family dwelling or the association will be required to submit, or have submitted on their behalf by a recycling collection provider, an annual report to document the amount of recyclables collected each year, the frequency of collection and the size and average number of recycling containers located on the property.

City Council members believe recycling has many benefits, including conservation of natural resources; energy conservation; reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and pollution; and avoiding waste disposal thus reducing our dependency on landfills.

The city of Atlanta is required by the Georgia Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Act of 1990 to reduce 25 percent of its waste stream.

More and more landfills are being closed and both the city and state of Georgia could ultimately run out of economical and logistically feasible places to dispose of its solid waste.

“Atlanta’s population continues to rise and number and scale of multi-family developments are following the same trend,” said Muller, a member and former chair of the City Utilities Committee which oversees solid waste issues in the City. “With the increasing number of these developments, especially in the downtown area, providing these residents with the proper tools to recycle is crucial.”

–John Schaffner