The Universal Recycling Ordinance (URO) supports Austin’s Zero Waste goal. It requires commercial property owners to ensure that tenants and employees have access to recycling. The goal of the ordinance is to increase the life of local landfills, reduce harmful environmental impacts, and encourage economic development.

Who is responsible?

The property owner and manager are responsible. Typically this is the person who manages the contract for trash and recycling services. 

Is your commercial property downtown on Congress or 6th Street? [See map] If so, you may receive Downtown District Service and have slightly different requirements. 

What do I need to do?

Submit recycling plan

The person responsible for the trash and recycling must fill out a recycling plan, every year, beginning October 1. This recycling plan (called the Annual Diversion Plan) is a report of how the property meets ordinance requirements. Items needed to fill out your plan:

  • service receipts from your hauler and
  • a letter or email  from Austin Resource Recovery with your Real Property ID and User ID. 

Blue button: Submit Recycling Plan

If you are unable to complete your plan, you will be able to save it and finish later.

If you have an active food permit, you also need to fill out an organics plan.

What am I reporting and how do I comply?

1. Recycle materials

Recycling services may include single-stream services for paper, hard plastics, aluminum, glass and cardboard.

Recycle or reuse other materials? Recycling capacity may be met using other diversion activities (reused, repurposed, recycled, back-hauled, scrapped, donated or baled.) You can propose substitute materials on your recycling plan. 

Find a licensed hauler. Download a tip sheet for contracting hauler services.

2. Provide access

Provide sufficient recycling capacity at convenient locations for tenants and employees. This means that:

  • recycling capacity must be equal to or greater than your total on-site trash capacity, and
  • recycling containers should be placed within 25 feet of a trash receptacle.

Image of trash and recycling dumpsters with an arrow in between and text, "no more than 25 feet apart"

Need more information about providing access? Download the URO fact sheet. Download the industrial warehouse manufacturing fact sheet.

3. Provide education

Provide education on recycling to employees and tenants within 30 days of hire and every year thereafter. Education may be provided at team meetings, in print or electronically. Download our free example messages for recycling emails and letters or for newsletter articles and websites.

Thumbnail image of sample message

Download the retail handout template or the commercial handout template.

4. Post signage

Post informational, bilingual signs on or near recycling stations or containers. 

Make your own custom signs:

Image of composting, recycling and trash signs. Click to make your own.

Print free resources:

Thumbnail image of recycling poster
Recycling poster in English and SpanishFrenchMandarin
VietnameseKorean or Arabic

Recycling Decal Thumbnail
 

8" x 8" Recycling Decal

Violations of the URO (Austin City Code Chapter 15-6) are a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by fines up to $2,000 per day, per offense. Contact us for free information, guidance and resources: email Austin Resource Recovery’s Business Outreach team or call 512-974-9727.