More required recycling for businesses? City Council proposal

September 12, 2013 at 10:54 am | In Environment, West Seattle news | 10 Comments

More recycling means less trash and lower bills, says City Councilmember Jean Godden, announcing a proposal (see the full text here) to require businesses to recycle more than just paper and cardboard:

Councilmember Jean Godden introduced legislation today to require that Seattle businesses recycle glass, plastic, tin, and aluminum, effective July 2014. Six months of educational outreach to businesses would be conducted before the requirement takes effect, with one-and-a-half years before the use of civil infractions for enforcement. Councilmember Godden also directed SPU to streamline the process for business owners to convert to comprehensive recycling, allocating $150,000 for business engagement.

Read on for the rest of the announcement:

“This is clearly the next step in Seattle’s recycling effort,” said Councilmember Jean Godden, Chair of the Libraries, Utilities, and Center Committee. “Homeowners have been recycling bottles and cans since 2005, and it’s time we reenergize the effort to preserve our dwindling natural resources.”

Seattle businesses discard over 8,000 tons of recyclable bottles and cans in the landfill every year. Businesses are currently required to recycle only paper and cardboard. By 2019, this ban will reduce recyclables that go to the landfill by 6,000 tons, or over 200 shipping containers, per year.

Regardless the size or type of business, switching to a strong recycling program is expected to save the company money. Savings will range from $55 per month for a small restaurant to $1,522 for a large office building, according to Seattle Public Utilities.

“I doubled the funding for business recycling outreach to ensure this is a win for both business and the environment.” said Godden. “What better year to do this than on the 25th anniversary of curbside recycling in Seattle?”

Comments? You can reach Godden at jean.godden@seattle.gov. The city’s overall recycling rate, by the way, is up, according to a separate presentation at a council committee meeting this morning.

10 Comments

  1. I sure am glad there is no crime or traffic in this city, so we can spend our time worrying about this sort of thing.

    Comment by smokeycretin9 — 11:53 am September 12, 2013 #

  2. Totally common sense to require this. It’s easy -even for biz- unless you are stubborn. Other cities need to follow SEA’s lead!

    Comment by Nwmama — 1:39 pm September 12, 2013 #

  3. Am I imagining things, or do restaurants not have the composting bins anymore? Didn’t parks have them too?

    I’m surprised that businesses are only required to recycle paper and cardboard. It would feel very strange to throw away a glass bottle!

    Comment by ghar72 — 2:04 pm September 12, 2013 #

  4. Legislation?? A law?? Who is going to enforce it-the recycle police?? This is another “feel good” proposal that Seattle & Washington State elected officials are so famous for-yet rarely add any teeth to. Don’t get me wrong-I think recycling is important for businesses-but do we really need legislation to achieve it?

    Comment by Gene — 2:11 pm September 12, 2013 #

  5. I expect this announcement shortly, “Residential recycling rates will be going up due to the urgent need to expand recycle center capacity.”

    Comment by DTK — 2:27 pm September 12, 2013 #

  6. Don’t many businesses already do this? It seems counterproductive to not recycle them. Unless the bins required to store the extra cost quite a bit more in fees.

    Comment by jm_civik — 2:28 pm September 12, 2013 #

  7. I have observed in fast food places that the customers pay little attention to separating garbage/ compostables/ recyclables. I am guessing that the employees are not sorting it out of thte bags so does it all wind up getting trashed? I think cross-contamination makes recyclables/ compostables worthless. At least cans/bottles are really easily identified.

    Comment by 35this35mph — 8:57 pm September 12, 2013 #

  8. I should note that Taco Time appears to be an exception to this. They have worked to seriously minimize non compostable trash.

    Comment by 35this35mph — 8:59 pm September 12, 2013 #

  9. @Gene: Yes, we do need legislation to achieve recycling goals. That’s how recycling happens: when it is made to be a requirement.

    Comment by Brian — 7:50 am September 13, 2013 #

  10. ALSO: I get a good laugh out of people who think that any time the city passes any legislation to address an issue that is not specifically about crime, then we are obviously dropping the ball.

    Here’s a hot tip: There are plenty of issues facing this city that are not in any way related to crime but that still need to be addressed. Try opening up your myopic view of reality for a second, huh?

    Comment by Brian — 7:52 am September 13, 2013 #

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