The Construction and Demolition Recycling Ordinance requires construction and demolition projects to divert construction waste from the landfill. The goal of the ordinance is to increase reuse and recycling of materials from construction and demolition projects. The ordinance is consistent with Austin’s Zero Waste goal and is modeled after the City’s Green Building efforts.

Which projects are affected?

Construction projects

Building permits for more than 5,000 square feet of new, added or remodeled floor area are affected by the ordinance.

Commercial demolition projects

Commercial and multifamily demolition projects of all sizes are affected by the ordinance.

What do I need to do?

1. Recycle construction and demolition debris

General contractors for affected projects must do at least one of the following:

  • Divert at least 50% of the construction project debris from the landfill OR
  • Dispose of no more than 2.5 pounds of material per square foot of floor area in the landfill.

There are several options for hauling and processing construction debris. Find a hauler and/or processor for construction debris.

2. Submit construction recycling report

Contractors with an affected project must submit an online construction recycling report when the contractor requests a final building inspection. This report shows how many tons of construction debris were recycled and landfilled. A recycling report is required for each affected permit; however, contractors can combine information from several affected permits into one online report.

Haulers and facilities receiving the construction debris can provide the tonnage information a contractor needs to complete the report. Learn how to submit the required recycling report.

Affected projects that include unaffected permits

A construction recycling report is not required for unaffected permits. However, contractors may find it is easier to include information for all permits in their recycling reports. For instance, if a contractor has weight tickets that don’t distinguish between debris from affected and unaffected permits, they will need to report the tons of materials for the entire project. In this case, the contractor must include the permit numbers and floor areas for both the affected and unaffected permits in the report.

Ordinance exemptions

The ordinance exempts special waste and hazardous material, including asbestos and materials containing lead. Contractors should ensure those materials are handled in accordance with appropriate local and state regulations.

Affected projects that do not meet the recycling requirements

If a general contractor is unable to meet the recycling requirements for an affected project, due to the nature of the debris, the contractor can request a waiver through the online reporting system. The contractor must show that there was a good faith effort to meet ordinance requirements. Contractors must keep waiver documentation for two years.

A general contractor whose affected project does not meet the recycling requirements, and who does not have an approved waiver is subject to a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by fines up to $500 per day, per offense.