Orlando could soon require every residential and commercial building in the city to offer recycling, potentially affecting hundreds of buildings, ranging from high-rise apartments and office towers to condos and townhomes.

The proposed policy, which was discussed Monday during a City Council workshop, would not require individual tenants to recycle their waste. But it would force building owners to offer them the chance to do so.

“The cool thing about this program is that, if people do adopt the practices, they [building owners] actually save money because recycling is cheaper than having your garbage picked up,” said Mayor Buddy Dyer.

Mike Carroll, manager of Orlando’s Solid Waste Division, said his staff began exploring possible changes in response to feedback from apartment dwellers and office workers who want to recycle at home or at work but lack the opportunity,

The policy is a long way from being adopted. The planning board is expected to consider it in June, with the City Council unlikely to vote on it until at least August.

Currently, there is no recycling requirement in Orlando. As a result, a large majority of multi-family residential and commercial buildings in Orlando were built only with general garbage pickup in mind, according to city staff.

The new policy would force building owners to create recycling centers within existing buildings, a challenge Carroll said the city is willing to help them solve. For many, it will simply mean finding space for an additionaltrash bin devoted to recyclables, he said.

“I have never found a facility, an existing one in city limits, that wanted to recycle and couldn’t do it,” he said.

As currently envisioned, the policy would be rolled out in phases over four years. The first would target new construction, applying to any buildingsthat get permits for construction six months after the requirement goes into effect.

The city’s roughly 180 largest existing buildings would come next, including residential developments with more than 250 units and commercial buildings bigger than 200,000 square feet. They would be required to start a recycling plan within a year.

Medium-sized properties — with 75 to 249 residential units or 100,000 to 199,000 square feet of commercial space — would have to create a recycling plan within two years. All other buildings would be required to set up recycling service within four years.

Carroll stressed that the policy he presented to commissioners Monday is not set in stone; over the next six months, the city’s solid waste staff plans to meet with industry stakeholders to hone their proposal, he said.

Allyson Peters, executive director of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Orlando, said she wasn’t aware of the proposal prior to being asked about it by a reporter. BOMA, she said, “will be researching and coordinating as needed with the City.”

“Our members are very much into sustainability and recycle where it is not cost prohibitive and where services are available,” she said.

Credit: (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-recycling-c…)