Dallas officials could require tens of thousands of businesses to start recycling in an effort to divert waste from the landfill. Commercial waste is next up on the city’s environmental to-do list as officials pursue a “zero-waste” goal, which would extend the life of the McCommas Bluff Landfill, and try to mitigate the effects of climate change.
City officials are discussing ways to enforce such an ordinance. They could present a plan to council members early next year. The council last year approved a recycling mandate for apartment complexes and recently passed limits on bulk and brush set-outs. But the staff and a new council will have to figure out how to tackle the plethora of materials that businesses discard — and determine how heavily the city should regulate recycling.
Susan Alvarez, assistant director of the Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability, estimated a recycling mandate would affect nearly 40,000 businesses, which produce an array of materials — some businesses produce mostly paper waste, others mostly food. That makes a “one-size-fits-all” ordinance challenging, she said.
“It’s one thing to say, ‘Y’all have to do it.’ But the second piece of it is enforcement,” Alvarez said. “We want to make sure that the stakeholders in that ordinance have some say. And quite frankly, we have not done that much outreach.”
Alvarez expects the office to send recommendations to the council by February. She hopes to have a proposed ordinance up for a vote in the following months, which would give officials time to talk to more business representatives. Scott Goldstein, a spokesman for the Dallas Regional Chamber, said the business group hasn’t taken a position on a commercial recycling mandate yet, but is “following this issue closely” and looks forward “to engaging with the new Dallas City Council.”