City of Austin Waste Not Challenge Winner: Sarah Seidel

City of Austin "Waste Not" Challenge Winner: Sarah Seidel

Photo of Sarah Seidel with a green background.

City of Austin employees recently competed against each other in a week-long "Waste Not" challenge. The challenge tracks "green" actions taken by participants, and is done through our Rethink/ app. In the end, Sarah Seidel with Austin Public Health claimed the top spot — by only one point! We asked Sarah a few questions about how the challenge went for her. Here's what she had to say.

What was your favorite part about competing in the challenge?

My favorite part was being able to share all the different ways throughout the day that I practice green living. I’ve made a personal and household commitment to doing so many of the things in the app, but I’ve also tried to institute the practices on a larger scale for the condo complex we live in. As HOA manager there, I’ve implemented composting, native and drought resistant landscaping, single stream and hazardous waste recycling collection, etc.

At the office, Janice Savengrith (5th place winner) and I tried to document some of the ways employees are encouraged to “waste not”. For example, our kitchen has reusable mugs, cups, plates, bowls, and silverware; we have a CFL and battery recycling bin; every cubicle or office has a recycling bin; and we have water bottle refill stations to encourage people to bring and use refillable water bottles.

What obstacles did you face while competing in the challenge?

It’s time consuming to document things you do all the time without thinking (i.e. every time you recycle, compost, bring your lunch, use reusable silverware, and pick up dog waste)!

Anything else to add?

The app actually helped me identify some new things I hadn’t thought about doing at home, which was great!

The combined actions of all challenge participants resulted in the following:

1.4 thousand pounds CO2 saved, 344 pounds waste diverted, 1.7 thousand gallons water saved


Sarah Seidel, Austin Public Health — 729 points

Albert Navarro, Austin Parks and Recreation 728 points

Andrea Rose, Law Department 679 points

Janice Savengrith, Austin Public Health 602 points

Cathy Jackson, Purchasing Department — 499 points