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Pending legislation in Seattle expands commercial recycling

Seattle Councilmember Jean Godden has introduced legislation to require that Seattle businesses recycle glass, plastic, tin and aluminum, effective July 2014. Six months of educational outreach to businesses would be conducted before the requirement takes effect, with 1.5 years before the use of civil infractions for enforcement. Councilmember Godden also directed Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) to streamline the process for business owners to convert to comprehensive recycling, allocating $150,000 for business engagement.

“This is clearly the next step in Seattle’s recycling effort,” said Councilmember Jean Godden, chair of the Libraries, Utilities and Center Committee. “Homeowners have been recycling bottles and cans since 2005, and it’s time we reenergize the effort to preserve our dwindling natural resources.”

Seattle businesses discard over 8,000 tons of recyclable bottles and cans in the landfill every year. Businesses are currently required to recycle only paper and cardboard. By 2019, this ban will reduce recyclables that go to the landfill by 6,000 tons, or over 200 shipping containers, per year.

Regardless of the size or type of business, switching to a strong recycling program is expected to save the company money. Savings will range from $55 per month for a small restaurant to $1,522 for a large office building, according to SPU.

“I doubled the funding for business recycling outreach to ensure this is a win for both business and the environment,” said Godden. “What better year to do this than on the 25th anniversary of curbside recycling in Seattle?”