A mandatory bylaw is now in effect that requires multi-family complexes to provide on-site recycling for residents and the city says the initiative could cut down garbage from the units by almost 25 percent.

As of February 1, 2016, complexes that have five or more units on the same site will be required to provide recycling for residents.  This includes high-rise and low-rise apartments, townhouses, condos, mobile home parks, housing coops and housing developments on private roads.

The managers or owners of the buildings will be responsible for setting up a program at their complexes and will decide how and where to store materials and whether to hire a company or to recycle the items themselves.

“We decided that rather than the city providing recycling services to multi-family ourselves, when we don’t typically pick up waste at those units, that we would go with the mandate program that requires all multi-families to create their own recycling system, and it’s very, very flexible. You can hire a company, someone in the building can agree to take the recycling to the community depot, we’ve got a pretty broad mandate,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

Building owners or managers are required to:

  • Offer recycling storage at your complex in addition to garbage storage
  • Make sure there are enough containers to hold all the recycling at your complex
  • Accept at least the same materials as Blue Carts:
  • Paper: Newspaper, catalogues and magazines, mixed paper (like flyers, envelopes and office paper), shredded paper, telephone books
  • Boxboard and corrugated cardboard
  • Glass jars and bottles
  • Food cans and foil
  • Refundable beverage containers
  • Plastic containers with the recycling symbols 1-7, except polystyrene foam
  • Plastic bags
  • Juice boxes and soup boxes (such as TetraPaksTM)
  • Arrange to have the materials removed for recycling

Randall Bobyk is with Condo Recycling Solutions and says business at multi-family buildings has picked up over the last year.

“The last year has probably been the busiest, people were starting to get onboard kind of this time last year and now they’ve kind of put things in gear to put things in place,” he said.

The city says it will take an education-first approach to bylaw enforcement but will levy fines if steps are not taken to provide the service to residents.

“The compliance has been very, very good,” said Nenshi. “Like every bylaw, enforcement is done on a complaint basis and our preference is to educate people and help bring them into compliance rather than ticket them and I imagine that’s where we’ll go from here.”

For more information on the multi-family recycling program, click HERE.