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A City Council committee agreed today to send a mandatory recycling proposal to the full council for consideration.

The proposal from Mayor Jerry Sanders would make recycling available to thousands of apartment, condo and office dwellers who lack it. Blue bins would be phased in, with the largest apartments (more than 100 units) and office buildings (more than 20,000 square feet) required to provide recycling within 90 days of the ordinance’s approval.

Any special event requiring a city permit would also be required to provide recycling bins.

The proposal has a loophole that would grant exemptions to all apartment complexes and businesses that produce less than six cubic yards of garbage weekly. That’s equal to two Dumpsters of trash. The city estimates that 30 to 35 percent of all apartment complexes and businesses would be exempted.

The city says the proposal would extend the life of the city-owned Miramar Landfill by two years. The landfill is currently projected to close in 2012. The city believes the mandatory requirement, which would be fully implemented by January 2010, would divert 100,000 tons of recyclable materials from the landfill.

Several speakers at the committee meeting urged the council’s support, though some asked for a stricter ordinance. Beryl Flom, a member of the League of Women Voters, told the council to speed up implementation, reduce the exemptions that can be granted and formally spell out fines for noncompliance.

Councilmen Kevin Faulconer and Brian Maienschein requested more information about fines and said the ordinance still had issues to be worked out — though they indicated that would be dealt with when the full council hears the matter. The issue has not yet been scheduled on the City Council’s docket.

ROB DAVIS

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