During Tuesday night’s Rowlett City Council work session, the council discussed an amendment to Chapter 50 Section 50-1 of the Rowlett Code of Ordinances to require the presence of recycling bins in new multifamily and commercial developments.
Munal Mauladad, director of Community Development, said the Rowlett Development Code has no regulations regarding recycling bins or compact station requirements. The purpose of the proposed code amendment would be to encourage and provide the opportunity to practice sustainable habits.
She reported that 590 surveys were sent to commercial and multifamily business and property owners within 150 feet of the Lakeview Parkway Corridor with the intention of providing a comprehensive sample and representation of the current demand to recycle. Only 10 surveys were received.
Mauladad said about 50 percent of the respondents currently recycle primarily of plastics and cardboard. About 50 percent would share service with other businesses if possible; the average service needed would be about once a month. If recycling was optional, but the service was offered to them, 100 percent of the respondents indicated that they would recycle.
The city's provider, FCC Environmental Services, is not required to provide commercial services with recycling, but they are equipped and willing to do so citywide.
“The recycling industry is fairly volatile, especially the international markets, with their requirements becoming more stringent,” Mauladad said. “The bottom line is, a business really needs to produce enough recyclable products such as cardboards to have that value added to it, and that’s what translates into a rebate from the recycling companies.”
This type of recycling is conducted by the large retailers and big boxes. As it relates to the smaller commercial entities, they typically do no generate enough cardboard to qualify for a rebate and this would instead be an added expense to the business operator. There is, therefore, little to no benefit to the small-scale operations, she reported.
City staff conducted a benchmark analysis and looked at surrounding cities – Garland, Sachse, Mesquite, Rockwall and Plano – and of those only Mesquite and Plano made recycling mandatory.
In Mesquite, recycling is mandatory for any property that produces recyclable goods, and recycle bins must be provided. New development must show location on site plan, existing developments must comply after a change in occupancy.
In Plano, recycling is mandatory at all residential and non-franchise commercial properties.
A representative with FCC said there also needs to be education for customers so they know how to recycle properly and reduce contamination.
Council's consensus is to require commercial and retail development on their site plan to reflect the pertinent enclosures to accommodate for recycling opportunities.