New recycling requirements for construction projects 5,000+ square feet.
Construction projects that are 5,000 square feet and larger must now meet recycling requirements under the City’s new Construction and Demolition Recycling Ordinance. The new rules apply to contractors who apply for permits after Oct. 1 for any project with 5,000 square feet or more of new or remodeled floor area. The ordinance does not yet apply to demolition projects, but it will, beginning in 2019.
Contractors for affected projects have two options: either divert at least 50 percent of project debris from the landfill (through recycling, reuse or salvage), or dispose of no more than 2.5 pounds per square foot of floor area. Contractors will report how much construction debris was landfilled, reused or recycled. They will file the report online when they request the Final Building Inspection.
Construction and demolition debris makes up approximately 20 percent of material going to Austin landfills. Austin Resource Recovery Director Bob Gedert said, “The only way we can meet our Zero Waste goal – to reduce material sent to the landfill by 90 percent by 2040 – is if we commit to finding a higher and better use for construction and demolition debris. These materials comprise one fifth of our waste stream, making this ordinance a critical step on our journey to Zero Waste.”
Waivers will be available for general contractors who are unable to meet the ordinance requirements. To qualify, the contractor must show that there was a good faith effort to meet the ordinance diversion requirements. Failing to report or secure a waiver is a Class C misdemeanor.
Austin Resource Recovery has worked with Development Services Department to help make it easier for contractors to comply with the ordinance. The Development Services Department is working on automating their permit data management system to send email reminders about the ordinance to contractors when they submit a permit application, when they receive their building permit and when they request their final inspection.
Austin Resource Recovery staff have also worked directly with contractors to educate them about the ordinance through a series of Lunch and Learn training sessions and informational emails. For more details about the Construction and Demolition Recycling Ordinance, including resources for contractors, visit austintexas.gov/cd.
About Austin Resource Recovery
Austin Resource Recovery provides a wide range of services designed to transform waste into resources while keeping our community clean. Services include curbside collection of recycling, trash, yard trimmings and large brush and bulk items; street sweeping; dead animal collection; household hazardous waste disposal and recycling; and outreach and education. In December 2011, the Austin City Council approved the Austin Resource Recovery Master Plan, which is the City’s roadmap to Zero Waste. The City of Austin is committed to reducing the amount of waste sent to area landfills by 90 percent by 2040 or sooner. For more information, visit austinrecycles.com.
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