If you live in the city of San Diego and have city-provided trash service, you must now recycle.

The requirement is the first of several being launched to cut the amount of waste entering the city-owned Miramar Landfill.

While recycling is now mandatory, it’s also largely voluntary. The city is working to educate residents about the new policy and has no plans to levy any fines or enforcement penalties against residents who don’t recycle, said Jennifer Ott, a spokeswoman for the city’s Environmental Services Department.

Beginning Feb. 11, apartment and condo building managers will have to provide recycling to tenants in complexes with more than 100 units; businesses larger than 20,000 square feet will also have to begin providing blue bins. Special events will also be required to provide recycling.

Some city residents who receive trash pickup from the city have declined blue bins. Ott said those residents can change their mind by calling 858.694.7000. But the city will not track down those non-recyclers, she said.

“We’re not going to go through our database and go knocking on their doors,” she said. “At least not right now.”

Recycling will become mandatory for apartments and condos with more than 50 units and offices with more than 10,000 square feet of space in January 2009. The threshold drops again in January 2010, when it will be mandatory in smaller businesses, condos and apartment complexes (though some will be exempt).

The city estimates the policies, once fully enacted, will keep 100,000 tons of waste from entering the landfill annually.

ROB DAVIS

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