By Jeremy Izzio and Dan Telvock
The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, the city's biggest landlord, is ignoring a City Charter requirement that mandates recycling at apartment buildings and other multi-family housing units.
As a result, roughly 500 tons of recyclable materials end up in a landfill each year, costing the city both money and an opportunity to improve its anemic recycling rate.
There also may be a related out-of-pocket expense to the authority. The authority appears to have engaged a public relations firm to coach officials on how to deal with reporters inquiring about the recycling program. Managers are unwilling to discuss the arrangment, however.
The authority, controlled by Mayor Byron Brown's appointees, manages 4,307 housing units in 27 developments that are home to about 10,000 low-income and elderly residents. Authority management defended the absence of a recycling program by saying it isn't mandated by the federal government, which regulates public housing.
Federal laws don't prohibit recycling and the authority's admissions and occupancy policies require adherence to state and local laws, which would include the city's recycling mandate. The policies also require residents to follow all state and local recycling laws.
Watch Dan Telvock's Report in the video player on this page and visit the Investigative Post site for more on the issue and additional links.