City educates Austinites on what happens to plastic recyclables beyond the blue cart and how to combat plastic pollution.
AUSTIN, TX – This America Recycles Day, Nov. 15, Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) aims to raise awareness about plastic recycling in Austin and what Austinites can do to combat plastic pollution with their Keep Austin Recycling campaign.
Austin Resource Recovery provides curbside trash, recycling and yard trimmings or compost service to over 200,000 residential customers. Recycling is collected every-other week and taken to one of two Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in Austin. The MRFs use specialized machinery and hand sorting to separate materials and remove contamination (items not accepted by curbside recycling, hazardous or food-soiled items). Items are then baled and sold to companies that turn them into products like new bottles and containers, clothing, carpeting, flooring, flowerpots, buckets, bicycle racks and auto parts. While other municipalities around the country may be faced with difficult decisions about the future of their recycling programs, Austin’s processors have assured ARR that they continue to sell recyclables domestically and to Mexico and have not been affected in the same way.
Within the last two years, Austin has joined both the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and the U.S Plastics Pact initiatives aimed at rethinking the lifecycle and use of plastic in the United States and the world. Austin Resource Recovery has made strong commitments to reuse programs and promoting a robust Circular Economy Program that provides opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses to connect with local suppliers looking to sell discards made of plastic and other reusable materials.
ARR is also using the campaign to encourage Austinites to make changes in their own lives to help combat plastic pollution by reducing the purchase and use of single-use plastic items, reusing plastics whenever possible and using the Austin Recycles App or What Do I Do With... tool to know what items can and cannot go in the blue cart.
For more on plastic recycling in Austin, America Recycles Day and what you can do at home to make a difference, visit austintexas.gov/plastic.
About Austin Resource Recovery
Austin Resource Recovery provides a wide range of services designed to transform waste into resources while keeping our community clean. Services include curbside collection of recycling, trash, yard trimmings and large brush and bulk items; street sweeping; dead animal collection; household hazardous waste disposal and recycling; and outreach and education. Austin Resource Recovery offers free, voluntary, and confidential consulting services to help Austin businesses reduce waste and comply with the City’s recycling ordinances. In December 2011, the Austin City Council approved the Austin Resource Recovery Master Plan, which is the City’s road map to Zero Waste. The City of Austin is committed to reducing the amount of waste sent to area landfills by 90 percent by 2040. Learn more at austinrecycles.com
About Austin’s Circular Economy Program
Austin’s Circular Economy Program is a partnership between Austin Resource Recovery and the Economic Development Department that works to attract, retain and grow businesses and non-profits, and provide resources to entrepreneurs in the zero waste industry.
About The New Plastics Economy and The Plastics Pact
Since 2016, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy initiative has rallied businesses and governments behind a positive vision of a circular economy for plastic. Its 2016 and 2017 New Plastics Economy reports captured worldwide headlines, revealing the financial and environmental costs of waste plastic and pollution.
The Plastics Pact is a global network of initiatives that brings together all key stakeholders at the national or regional level behind a common vision with a concrete set of ambitious local targets. It builds a unique platform to exchange learnings and best practices across regions to accelerate the transition to a circular economy for plastic - a New Plastics Economy - in which it never becomes waste or pollution.
About The Ellen MacArthur Foundation
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was launched in 2010 with the aim of accelerating the transition to the circular economy. Since its creation, the charity has emerged as a global thought leader, putting the circular economy on the agenda of decision-makers around the world. The charity's work focuses on seven key areas: insight and analysis; business; institutions, governments, and cities; systemic initiatives; circular design; learning; and communications.