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The San Diego City Council approved a mandatory recycling ordinance today, a measure that will require large apartment and office complexes to provide recycling options to tenants as early as February.

The council unanimously voted Tuesday to expand recycling services beyond simply single-family homes to other types of facilities throughout the city of San Diego, such as condos, commercial buildings and large special events.

Also, beginning this New Year Day, residents of single-family homes who heretofore had the option to recycle will be required to do so.

The new ordinance requiring the recycling options applies to apartment buildings of more than 100 units and office buildings larger than 20,000 square feet. All commercial and residential buildings will be required to offer recycling by 2010.

The decision is expected to help the city lengthen the life of the Miramar Landfill, which could reach capacity as early as 2012. However, the city is seeking permission to stack trash higher so Miramar can operate until 2015.

The new requirement is also backed by Mayor Jerry Sanders, who was previously opposed to the costs of recycling but has since changed his mind.

Abby Jarl, a policy advisor for Sanders, said the city can absorb any new costs of the curbside recycling program until the 2009 fiscal year. The city will likely turn to new revenue that will be collected, pending the council’s approval, from replacing garbage containers and increased self-hauling fees at the landfills to pay for the service past 2009.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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