The final expansion of the curbside composting program to approximately 55,000 additional Austin households is complete.

Previously, about 152,000 homes received the curbside composting collection service. This final expansion provides the service to all remaining Austin Resource Recovery customers after a four-year phased-in approach that began in 2017. In previous years, ARR offered in-person open house events giving new curbside composting customers the opportunity to learn about the program, learn how to use the service and receive free resources to start composting. This year, in order to adhere to COVID-19 safety regulations, we held a virtual town hall and distributed free kitchen collectors and compostable bags at drive-thru events.

The program collects food scraps, yard trimmings, food-soiled paper and natural fibers, and converts them into nutrient-rich compost. Because materials are processed in a commercial composting facility, extremely high temperatures are reached, allowing Austinites to compost items like meat, dairy, seafood and bones that typically cannot be composted in a backyard. This program is part of the City of Austin’s zero waste goal to divert 90 percent of materials from landfills by 2040. 

Why compost?

A recent study showed that almost half of everything residential customers send to the landfill could have been composted. Compostable material cannot break down in a landfill, as it would in nature or in a compost pile. Instead, it decomposes without oxygen, releasing harmful methane into the atmosphere. Organic material placed in green carts is transported to a local facility, where it breaks down into compost, can be used to help soil retain water and fertilize lawns and gardens without chemicals.

Collection guidelines

  • Place your composting cart at the curb by 5:30 a.m. on your collection day. (The set-out time has been shifted to an hour earlier to minimize workers' exposure to the extreme summer heat.)

  • Place trash, recyclables and compost five feet apart to allow our automated trucks to collect materials safely and efficiently.

  • Extra composting is collected at no extra charge. Extra composting material that does not fit into your green cart with the lid closed should be placed in lawn and leaf bags or a reusable container that is no larger than 34 gallons and no heavier than 50 pounds and placed beside the cart.
  • Small branches (no longer than five feet and no thicker than three inches in diameter) should be stacked into manageable bundles no heavier than 30 pounds. Brush and tree limbs too large to be collected during regular yard trimmings collection can be collected during periodic large brush collection.
  • Material placed at the curb in plastic bags will be collected as trash and will be subject to extra trash fees.
  • Did we miss your cart? Call Austin Resource Recovery at 3-1-1 or send us an e-mail within two days of the missed collection. We will come by to pick up the missed material as soon as possible. 

Learn how to compost

Read our comprehensive guide to learn everything you need to know about curbside composting in Austin. Watch these short videos to get quick tips: