Help has arrived for the thousands of apartment dwellers who live in rental or condominium buildings that do not provide recycling. Under an ordinance passed by Chicago City Council last summer, building owners now face up to $5,000 in fines for not providing recycling options in their buildings.
The new ordinance received unanimous approval, replacing a toothless law that lacked penalties if buildings failed to offer recycling options for residents. It appears the ordinance has already made a marked difference: major waste haulers in the area report a huge demand for new recycling services.
Under the ordinance, which went into effect January 1st, owners of multi-unit buildings are now required to provide “source-separated, single stream recycling.” This means that apartment building residents will have access to the same kind of recycling services enjoyed by Chicagoans who receive city garbage pick up. Residents put all of their recycling into one bin, to be collected and sorted.
Building owners and condominium associations will have a 30-day grace period before tickets and fines will be issued. This means the earliest a building could receive a fine is February 1st. After that date, owners who fail to comply could face 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.
My staff and my 49th Ward Streets and Sanitation superintendent are available to help residents understand the requirements of the ordinance and make sure every building implements a recycling program.
Property owners also are 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.”
Please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773.338.5796 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any assistance with this new ordinance.