The legislation, which would be effective from July 2014, was introduced Sept. 12 by councilmember Jean Godden. It is currently mandatory for businesses to recycle paper and cardboard.
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, according to the city of Seattle. Civil infractions would total $50 for a third offense, according to the Seattle Times.
Seattle businesses discard more than 8,000 tons of recyclable bottles and cans in the landfill every year. By 2019, this ban should increase Seattle’s recycling rate by 1.1 percent over current levels and reduce recyclables that go to the landfill by 6,000 tons, or more than 200 shipping containers, per year, the city says.
Regardless the size or type of business, switching to a strong recycling program is expected to save companies’ money, the city says. Savings will range from $55 per month for a small restaurant to $1,522 for a large office building, according to Seattle Public Utilities. Steve Cornell, a commercial and residential property manager in the city, says getting businesses to identify recyclables and put them in recycle bins may prove difficult, the newspaper reports.
Residential customers have been required to recycle cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, tin and aluminum since 2005.
Energy conservation measures enacted at facilities operated by the city of Seattle saved the municipality and taxpayers $1.25 million since 2008, according to an official report released in May.
The report covers 6.2 million square feet of city-owned and operated building space, a process that the city is also requiring owners of mid-sized and large privately owned buildings to do every year.
The assessment found that city-owned downtown buildings are more energy efficient than the national average. The Seattle Municipal Tower has an EPA Energy Star score of 93 out of 100, compared to a national average of 50. This means the building is more energy efficient than 92 percent of similar buildings nationwide, according to the report.
Picture Credit: David Herrera via Flickr