Help is on the way for the thousands of apartment dwellers who live in rental or condominium buildings that do not provide recycling. Under an ordinance proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, building owners would face up to $5,000 in fines for not providing recycling options in their buildings.
A City law on the books since 1993 requires building owners to provide recycling options for their residents, but the law provides no fines or other enforcement tools to ensure compliance. The Mayor last week introduced into the City Council a new recycling ordinance that spells out the specific responsibilities of building owners and adds penalties for failure to comply.
Under the proposed ordinance, owners of multi-unit buildings would be required to provide “source-separated, single stream recycling.” This means that apartment building residents would be able to receive the same kind of recycling services enjoyed by Chicagoans who receive City garbage pick up. Residents would put all of their recycling into one bin and it would be collected and sorted.
Though some rental apartment landlords and condominium associations provide recycling for their residents, many do not. This ordinance aims to ensure that all residents of Chicago are able to recycle.
Owners who don’t comply would be subject to a fine of $500-$1,000 for the first offense. The fines would increase to $1,000-$2,500 for the second offense and $2,500-$5,000 for further violations within a one-year period.
Property owners would also be responsible for educating tenants and lease holders, including posting signs, providing adequate carts and sending written notice to residents about the change and the recycling expected of them.
The Mayor’s team worked with building owners, residents and advocacy groups to develop the changes. The Chicago Recycling Coalition praised the measure as a “significant step forward.”
The City Council Committee on Health and Environmental Protection will consider the Mayor’s proposed ordinance and the measure may be adopted as soon as the next City Council meeting on Wednesday, July 20th.
I will keep you posted on the progress.