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Multifamily and Commercial Recycling


Currently, the City code does not require recycling be offered at multifamily developments or commercial buildings.  As a result, a large majority of the multifamily housing complexes and commercial properties in our City have been built with only the required garbage dumpster locations.

Since 2012, the City of Orlando has seen a 20 percent increase in residential recycling and we’ve heard from many residents who live in multifamily housing and people who work in office buildings who want an option for recycling.

As the demand for the ability to recycle grows, the City is seeking input from our community as we explore changes to the City code that will provide increased opportunities and access to recycling.

By increasing our City’s ability to recycle, we’ll further reduce the amount of waste sent to our local landfills and continue to preserve and protect our “City Beautiful” for generations to come.


  • Large Impact on Diversion:  Commercial and multifamily waste tonnage is nearly twice the residential waste tonnage, so increasing commercial and multifamily recycling can have a big impact on diversion of waste from the landfill as well as recovering a greater percentage of raw materials for reuse.
  • Cost Savings for Business, Property Owners:  Recycling services are provided at a reduced rate compared to garbage fees.  Increased recycling will decrease garbage collection, resulting in a reduction of the total was bill.  When implementing recycling, typically an office can reduce 50% of what they would have been throwing away by now recycling and reducing their total waste bill by 10-30%.
  • Drive Economy and Growth:  Strong waste reduction programs, such as commercial and multifamily recycling, can spawn new businesses, create jobs and strengthen our local economy.

Best Practices:

The City has been researching this type of policy and looking at best practices across the country to develop these proposed amendments to our code.

These include several states (California, Connecticut), counties (Miami-Dade, Collier) and municipalities (Austin, TX; Seattle, WA). Most modeled after San Diego, CA.

Mandatory Commercial and Multifamily Examples

  1. Collier County, FL

    July 2004, commercial
    October 2009, multifamily

    Phasing: No

    Ordinance link

    Mandatory commercial recycling came first; followed up with amendments requiring mandatory Multifamily.

  2. Gainesville, FL

    January 1997

    Phasing: No

    Ordinance link

    Apartments and condos are considered commercial properties.


  3. Lee County, FL

    September 2007

    Phasing: No

    Ordinance link

    Property owner or manager is responsible for commercial facilities, businesses and multi-family dwellings of five or more units.

  4. Miami-Dade County, FL

    July 1992

    Phasing: No

    Ordinance link

    Mandatory commercial, all multifamily residential and commercial establishments were given nine months to comply.

  5. San Diego, CA

    Passed 2007, effective as of January 1, 2008

    Phasing: Yes

    Ordinance link

    Multifamily residential phasing:
    >100 units by 2008
    50-99 by 2009
    all by 2010

    Commercial recycling phasing:
    >20,000sqft by Feb 2008
    >10,000 by 2009
    all by 2010

    Mixed-use properties are determined by majority of dedicated square footage.

  6. Austin, TX

    Effective 2012

    Phasing: Yes

    Ordinance link

    Universal Recycling Ordinance
    >50 by 2013
    >25 by 2014
    >10 by 2015
    >5 by 2016
    all by 2017

    Commercial (offices and institutions):
    >75,000 sq.ft. by 2013
    >50,000 by 2014
    25,000 by 2015
    5,000 by 2016
    all by 2017

    Mixed use can report separately or aggregate on a single annual diversion plan. Mixed-use properties phasing based on the dominate square foot usage.

  7. Seattle, WA

    Expanded rules took effect in July 2014

    Phasing: No

    Ordinance link - multifamily

    Ordinance link - commercial

    Educational training and public outreach for one to one and half years prior to implementation.

As part of this process, the City is committed to seeking input from the community and stakeholders, including both residents and developers, to ensure the broad interests of the community are represented.

Outreach Opportunities

By Request
The City’s Solid Waste Division is available to give presentations and meet one-on-one with companies, developers, building owners and residents to present proposed code amendments and seek input and feedback. To schedule, please contact Joseph England at 407.254.4500, ext.4977 or joseph.england@cityoforlando.net.

Community Outreach to Date

Based on research on best practices and continuing conversations, City staff has prepared a preliminary set of recommendations that would require multifamily housing complexes and commercial properties in the City offer the opportunity for recycling.

These amendments would be structured in a way that allows for a phased approach that considers existing property owners and the time needed for implementation.

These developments or properties would need to create and implement a recycling plan that is reviewed and approved by the City of Orlando.

The proposed phases for implementation include:

  • Phase 1: New construction projects and developments making substantial improvements will be required to include both garbage and recycling facilities to get a certificate of occupancy.
    • This would apply to permits pulled six months after ordinance effective date, so as not to impact projects that are already in process of construction or being constructed.
  • Phase 2: Large properties – multifamily developments of more than 250 and commercial buildings over 200,000 sq. ft. would have to submit and implement a recycling plan within 12 months of the ordinance effective date.
  • Phase 3: Medium sized properties – multifamily developments with 75-249 units and commercial buildings 100,000 – 199,999 would have to submit and implement a recycling plan within 24 months of the ordinance effective date.
  • Phase 4: All other properties would have to submit and implement a recycling plan within 48 months of the ordinance effective date.

Recycling collection could be done by a private firm or the City is able to provide recycling service if the customer doesn’t want to contract with a private firm.

For existing properties, implementation could include retrofitting the property to include a recycling facility or cart or sharing with another property.

Assistance Offered:
The City currently provides assistance, training and support for creating a recycling plan and implementing it and will expand these offerings upon implementation of these proposed amendments.

For more information or questions, please contact Joseph England at 407.254.4500, ext.4977 or joseph.england@cityoforlando.net.