Dallas mulls recycling mandate for businesses

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Dallas is considering a recycling mandate for businesses, in part to reduce the amount of waste in its landfill and in part to alleviate the effects of climate change.

The Dallas Morning News reported that reduction in commercial waste is next on the city’s “environmental to-do list” as it hopes to extend the life of McCommas Bluff Landfill.

City officials are mulling how to enforce a recycling ordinance on about 40,000 businesses and could present a plan to the city council early in 2020. The council previously approved an ordinance requiring recycling by apartment complexes.

Susan Alvarez, assistant director of the city’s Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability, told the newspaper that the issue is tricky due to the different types of waste produced by businesses, from paper to food.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘Y’all have to do it.’ But the second piece of it is enforcement,” she told the News. “We want to make sure that the stakeholders in that ordinance have some say. And quite frankly, we have not done that much outreach.”

Dallas Regional Chamber spokesman Scott Goldstein told the newspaper his organization is “following the issue closely” but hasn’t taken a position on a possible commercial recycling mandate yet.

A city plan calls for diverting 85 percent of Dallas waste by 2040, but the News story said the city is well behind those goals. The landfill takes in about 1.8 million tons of waste per year and is on track to reach capacity in 35 years.

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