Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) completed stakeholder engagement before City Council approved the new multifamily composting rules. Stakeholders included apartment managers, multifamily residents, private haulers and non-profits.
ARR conducted a pilot program between March 2021 and February 2022 to test organics collection at multifamily communities and gather information to inform policy discussions. This pilot helped the City understand the unique challenges faced by multifamily properties in Austin and allowed participating properties to test composting collection in their communities.
ARR staff led five stakeholder meetings between October 2022 and May 2023 and opened three online surveys to collect feedback on priorities and draft policy language. Based on stakeholder feedback, ARR staff developed recommended language for the amended Code and Administrative Requirements.
All surveys are currently closed.
Background – Universal Recycling Ordinance (URO)
The Universal Recycling Ordinance requires:
- Commercial business owners and multifamily properties to ensure that all commercial tenants, multifamily residents and employees have access to recycling.
- Food-permitted businesses to ensure that all employees have convenient access to diversion methods that keep organics materials out of the landfill. Organic material can include unused food, food scraps, and food soiled paper.
Additional requirements include:
- An annual report.
- Convenient access to recycling.
- Signs on dumpsters and carts showing what materials are accepted. Signs much be in English and Spanish.
- Education for residents and employees at least once per year and within 30 days of hire or move-in.
Waivers can be requested by properties and businesses that cannot meet certain requirements.
In the twelve months following the effective date of the ordinance, City staff will not enforce fines, unless the property fails to make a good faith effort.
Violations of the URO are a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by fines up to $2,000 per day, per offense.
The proposed changes would build on these existing requirements. This means that all the above requirements and rules would apply to the new added requirements around composting at multifamily properties.
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