With last month’s passage of ordinance 4695, an amendment to chapter 16 of the Kirkland Municipal Code, businesses are now required to allocate as much capacity toward recycling as they do for trash.
The ordinance also states, “to the greatest extent possible, garbage, recycling and compost containers should be co-located.” The new code is part of the city’s adoption of the 2019 King County Solid Waste Management Plan.
To help Kirkland businesses get up to code, the city’s solid waste division staff will provide onsite assistance and materials, starting with the roughly 100 businesses that have no recycling volume whatsoever.
“It’s going to be gradual,” said John MacGillivray, solid waste programs supervisor for the city of Kirkland. “We’re not the recycling police.”
MacGillivray said that the city’s assistance efforts will be primarily educational, as many businesses may not be aware of the fact that the city provides recycling services and materials at no additional cost.
Under the ordinance, businesses are also free to select another provider other than the city and in some cases, discretion is built into the ordinance so that the public works director or designated staff may work with businesses under special circumstances — e.g. an inherently cardboard-centric business — to craft a plan, perhaps involving a third-party service.
“You can’t just drop off the dumpsters and say, ‘good luck,’” MacGillivray said. “We need to provide them with the tools they need to succeed.”
According to MacGillivray, the ordinance will go a long way toward achieving the 70 percent recycling rate goal outlined in the Solid Waste Management Plan.
For business owners looking to take their environmental focus further, the city offers the EnvironStars program. Participants will be able to access additional resources to identify, execute and market energy-saving practices.