The Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) values sustainability and resiliency and works hard to maintain our park spaces clean and inviting for Austinites and our visitors.  We aim to minimize waste generation through source reduction, recycling or composting in order to both reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill, as well as reduce costs for disposal of trash.  Our goal is to ensure that our parks and facilities are compliant with Universal Recycling Ordinance guidelines and our own City of Austin Zero Waste Goals and standards.  


In 2018, the Zero Waste Advisory Commission and the Parks and Recreation Board urged City Council to create a Parks and Recreation Recycling Task Force (Resolution 20180614-072), and based on those recommendations, the subsequent FY19 City budget included more than $1 million for expanding recycling to parks citywide.  The Recycling Program Manager was hired in June 2019 to implement comprehensive recycling and composting standards at all PARD indoor and outdoor facilities to meet Zero Waste goals.  In September 2019, City Council awarded bids for the purchase and installation of updated receptacles at parks. 
Resolution No. 20180614-072:  Recycling Task Force Memo

Phase I:  Aquatics, Athletic Complexes, Metropolitan Parks and Golf Courses.  Phase II:  District Parks; Phase III:  Neighborhood Parks and Remaining Park Facilities.

Recycling Implementation Program Completion

The goal of the Recycling Implementation Program was to make Austin’s parks and facilities voluntarily compliant with the Universal Recycling Ordinance guidelines to support the City of Austin Zero Waste goals and standards. In December 2023, PARD completed the third and final phase of the program which focused on neighborhood parks, pocket parks, greenbelt trailheads, and other park spaces not addressed in the first two phases. Recycling and trash receptacles were installed throughout the park system, and the program has now shifted into a maintenance phase.

Using a phased approach over four years, the Recycling Implementation Program installed 800 pairs of newly purchased Max-R landfill and recycling receptacles and 108 pairs of Pilot Rock landfill and recycling receptacles, as follows:

Phase Completion Date Locations

  • Phase I Summer 2021 10 developed metropolitan-level parks (the largest parks), 10 athletics complexes, 45 aquatic sites, 5 of 6 golf facilities, and recently completed Capital Improvement Projects
  • Phase II Spring 2022 12 district-level parks and 22 joint use school parks
  • Phase III Winter 2023 82 of 112 neighborhood parks (those with existing amenities), 14 of 46 pocket parks, and several greenbelt trailheads

Program Updates and Final Report

Image of recycling receptacles

Image of recycling receptacles