Construction projects in Austin, Texas that are larger than 5,000 sf are now required to recycle or salvage at least half of their refuse.
The new ordinance is expected to divert at least 76,000 tons of material from landfills. Another ordinance will mandate that demolition sites recycle beginning in 2019. About 1,500 projects that would now fall under the mandate had generated about 152,000 tons of concrete, metal, lumber, and other waste in 2014-2015.
The city estimates the ordinance will increase construction costs by 0.1% to 0.2%. Companies working on large projects will have to submit reports on the quantity of materials they recycle or salvage. Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor for noncompliance and pay a $500 fine.
City lawmakers developed the ordinance to forward Austin’s goal of diverting 95% of all waste from landfills by 2040. About 20% of the city’s waste is from construction and demolition materials.