Comply with Trash Recycling Program

If the building or shopping center where you rent space has a recycling program, you may be tempted to weigh the cost of complying against the likelihood that the owner could enforce any recycling rules against you. But many owners—who are in some cases subject to fines if their buildings don’t comply with recycling laws—are instructing their janitorial or property management staff to inspect trash collection sites to find out which tenants are recycling and which aren't, so they can enforce their leases and avoid those fines.

Cities across the country have been passing tougher new recycling laws for the last few years that impose hefty fines and penalties for noncompliance, and this trend doesn’t seem likely to stop, especially in major cities. In Austin, Texas, an ordinance requires commercial complexes, including large and small office buildings, to offer recycling services on site. And the New York City Council has updated and expanded its recycling laws, and set strict new requirements for commercial businesses and buildings that have their waste collected by a private carter or recycler.

In response to these laws, many owners are putting clauses into their leases giving them the right to set up a mandatory trash recycling program in their building or center. Even without such a clause, an owner might argue that the “compliance with laws” clause that's standard in most leases—which requires the tenant to follow all laws regarding its use and occupancy of the space—obligates you to comply with any trash recycling program it sets up.


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