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About Austin Resource Recovery

Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) is a department of the City of Austin. We provide essential services that protect people and our planet. We collect recycling, composting, trash, large brush, bulk items and dead animals. We also sweep the streets, recycle and safely dispose of household hazardous waste, and provide community outreach and education. ARR is driving the global transformation of traditional waste management to sustainable resource recovery.

Read Austin Resource Recovery's 2023 Annual Report.

About zero waste

The City of Austin is committed to a zero waste goal to reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills by 90% by the year 2040.

Zero waste is a philosophy that goes beyond recycling, to focus first on reducing trash and reusing products and then recycling and composting the rest. Zero waste recognizes that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and everything is a resource for something or someone else. 

Austin Resource Recovery's new direction

ARR has developed updated mission and vision statements and a set of organizational values. The new ethos highlights the department’s purpose with the overarching goal of creating a clear understanding and a tangible connection to the work performed by the department and its many employees.

Our mission

We provide essential services that protect people and our planet.

Our vision

Driving the global transformation of traditional waste management to sustainable resource recovery.

Our core values

  • Teamwork: Together, we can build a world without waste.
  • Safety: We provide resources and services to protect employees and the community.
  • Excellence: We are a highly-skilled workforce that strives to exceed expectations.
  • Accountability: We deliver work with integrity and hold ourselves accountable.
  • Innovation: Working towards a world with zero waste through local innovation.
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion: We work to constantly improve our cultural competence and seek input from underrepresented voices.

Austin Resource Recovery's executive team

Richard McHale, Director
Austin Resource Recovery Director Richard McHale


Richard McHale has more than 30 years of experience with Austin Resource Recovery and most recently served as Deputy Director, helping to lead the storm debris collection efforts during Winter Storm Mara. He was instrumental in the rollouts of the City’s single-stream recycling and curbside composting programs. He also led the development of the Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center.

In addition, McHale is a director of the Texas chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (TxSWANA), a former member of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) Municipal Solid Waste Management and Resource Recovery Advisory Council and serves on the Solid Waste Advisory Commission for the Capital Area Planning Council of Governments. He served as a past President of both TxSWANA and the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Municipal Waste Management Association. While President of TxSWANA, he spearheaded the efforts that resulted in Slow Down to Get Around legislation.

McHale is a graduate of Texas State University, earning both a Bachelor's Degree in Geography and Planning, and a Master’s Degree in Resource and Environmental Studies.

Ted Horton, Deputy Director
Ted Horton, Deputy director of Austin Resource Recovery.


Ted Horton is the Deputy Director for Austin Resource Recovery and joined the department in the spring of 2024. He has held executive leadership positions in both the private and public sectors, focusing on expanding enterprise-level programs and making substantial capital investments in recycling and solid waste operations across the United States.

Ted holds an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Rutgers University. He is passionate about fostering organizational growth, enabling professional development and delivering essential community services through his work.

Gena McKinley, Assistant Director
Austin Resource Recovery Assistant Director Gena McKinley


Gena McKinley is an Assistant Director for Austin Resource Recovery. She has spent over 15 years working in the solid waste industry. Prior to joining the City of Austin, Gena worked in sustainable development at a regional council of government, with a focus on technical assistance for municipal waste management. Her leadership, commitment and advocacy for zero waste earned national recognition as she was chosen to be included in Waste360s 40 Under 40 list of rising stars in the industry.

Gena holds a Masters of Public Health from the University of Texas School of Health and a Bachelor of Arts from Southwestern University in Biology and Sociology . During her academic career, she focused on behavioral science and enjoys applying behavior change theory to the various aspects of her efforts in local government. Gena is Congress for the New Urbanism Accredited, a member of the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling Central Texas Steering Committee and several other professional organizations. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Land Conservancy.

Ron Romero, Assistant Director
Austin Resource Recovery Assistant Director Ron Romero


Ron Romero is an Assistant Director for Austin Resource Recovery. He oversees and leads curbside trash and recycling collection, the safe disposal of household hazardous waste, the Recycle and Reuse Drop-off Center, Austin Resource Recovery's operations at Austin Water’s Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant, the Brownfields Revitalization Office and the management of the City's closed landfill. He also leads the Support Services Division, which includes emergency management response, safety, training, fleet management and facilities support teams.

Romero has been with the City of Austin and Austin Resource Recovery since 1994. During his tenure with the department, he has held various positions in the department. Throughout his career he has gained experience in all aspects of planning and directing daily operations, budget development and management, fleet acquisition and management, emergency coordination and response, and program development. His commitment and passion for Austin Resource Recovery’s zero waste goals and program initiatives continue to drive him daily.

Romero graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Arts and Science. He is currently finishing his requirements for a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Organizational Development at Texas State University. He serves on the board of directors for the Central Texas Branch of the American Public Works Association (APWA) and is an active member of the City of Austin’s Hispanic Latino Network.

Amy Slagle, Assistant Director
Austin Resource Recovery Acting Assistant Director Amy Slagle


Amy Slagle is an Assistant Director for Austin Resource Recovery. She oversees and leads divisions for composting collection, brush and bulk collection, storm response and community-focused litter collections, including street sweeping, central business district litter removal and homeless encampment response, as well as the Clean Creeks program.

She joined the department in 1998 and has over 25 years of experience in the solid waste industry. In her time with the department, she has gained experience in operations and program management, program development, materials marketing, processing facility management, fleet management, customer service and quality assurance/quality control. She developed the on-call pilot programs for brush and bulk collection programs to increase efficiency and divert additional materials for recycling and led numerous storm recovery response efforts.

Slagle currently serves on the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) board of directors and holds a Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) ‘A’ license. She graduated from Texas A & M University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geography.

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