As of January 1st, 2020, all apartment and condominium properties in the City of Dallas with 8 or more units are required to provide recycling access to residents. Under the new rules, property owners and managers are also required to educate their residents on the property’s recycling program so that all residents know how and where to recycle.

Don’t have recycling at your complex? Here’s what you can do:

Contact the City of Dallas by calling 311 and informing them that you live in a multi-family apartment complex with 8 or more units that is not providing a recycling program. The city’s Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability will follow up with you.

If you feel comfortable contacting your landlord directly, you can also call or send them a message asking if they have a recycling program. We have a sample message to landlords at the bottom of the page that you can modify to send to your landlord.

Apartment Recycling FAQ

What is the new apartment recycling ordinance?
Through grassroots organizing with thousands of residents across Dallas, we helped get an ordinance passed in June 2018 mandating that all apartment and condominium residents have access to recycling. The ordinance was approved unanimously by Dallas City Council. As of January 1, 2020, all apartment and condominium properties with 8 or more units must provide a recycling program and recycling education to residents.

Great, but I don’t see any recycling bins at my complex
If your property has not implemented a recycling program or informed you about it, then they are not in compliance with the new ordinance.

How do I report my apartment/condominium property for noncompliance?
Contact the City of Dallas by dialing 311. Tell the city that you live at a multi-family apartment or condominium complex that is not following the law by providing a recycling program. If you feel comfortable speaking to your landlord directly, you may also inquire with them to see if they have a recycling program.

Is there any situation under which a property can refuse to offer recycling?
In rare instances, an apartment or condominium complex can be exempted from the new law only if they have written permission from the City of Dallas’s Director of Sanitation Services. If they do not have written permission and are refusing to offer recycling, then they are not in compliance with the law.

How will the ordinance help Dallas?
Providing universal recycling access is crucial to reducing wasted resources on a large scale. Over half of all Dallas residents live in apartment complexes, and until the ordinance went to effect, there was no requirement for property owners and managers to provide any programs that help reduce waste production. As of 2018, only about a quarter of multifamily residents had recycling according to city data. The new ordinance, if implemented properly, should help improve recycling rates and challenge an outdated mode of thinking that our waste just goes ‘away.’

When we start thinking about waste differently, we start acting differently. And we need to act differently to protect future generations from the plastic pollution crisis, climate change, and other problems associated with a society that designs so much of its products for the dump.

The City of Dallas produces two million tons of trash every year, and its landfill only has about thirty years of capacity left at current disposal rates. We need to move away from dumping huge quantities of trash into the landfill and instead find effective ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle products and materials in order to create a more circular economy.

I’ve heard recycling isn’t effective and many recyclable items just end up in the landfill anyway
Recent changes in the global recycling market have made it clear that manufacturers and product suppliers need to be held responsible for reducing the amount of single-use packaging and hard-to-recycle products they push on store shelves. Confusing packaging and new products that “look green” but aren’t actually recyclable have dirtied up recycling bins for years. This needs to change, and we believe the responsibility is on producers to help us clean up recycling and help prevent billions of dollars worth of materials from being dumped into landfills each year.

At the same time, we can address part of this problem by providing better access and education about basic recycling and waste reduction services. Cities can have a significant impact on waste reduction by expanding universal recycling access to all residents and businesses.

In order to tackle waste and its environmental impacts, we have to address the problem at every step of the life cycle of products, including the production and disposal ends.

What is left to be done to make Dallas zero waste?
Dallas still lacks basic requirements for all businesses and commercial properties to recycle, including a mandate that food enterprises divert food waste from the landfill. The city needs an ordinance for business recycling, and it needs it now.

How can I get involved in the campaign to make Dallas zero waste?
Join our Zero Waste Alliance to find out how you can help make Dallas zero waste.

Sample Message to Property Management

If you think your apartment or condominium manager is not following the new multi-family recycling law, here is a sample message you can send to your landlord to let them know they need to comply with the law:

Dear [name],

I am writing to ask if you are aware of the law requiring Dallas apartment properties with 8 or more units to offer a recycling program to its residents and educate residents about the program. This law went into effect January 1st, 2020.

As a resident here, I am not aware of a recycling program and want to know why you have not provided a recycling program or, if you have such a program, why you have not educated residents about it in compliance with the law.

I would appreciate it if [property name/management company name] would make waste reduction and recycling a priority for this property.

[Your name]