AUSTIN, TEXAS – Austin Resource Recovery, a department of the City of Austin, announces the expansion of the Curbside Composting Collection Program to approximately 38,000 additional Austin households to begin the week of October 2, 2017 on their regular collection day.
The program collects food scraps, yard trimmings and food soiled paper, and converts them into nutrient-rich compost. This program is part of the City of Austin’s Zero Waste goal to divert 90 percent of materials from landfills by 2040.
Prior to this expansion, Curbside Composting was in a pilot phase, which included 14,000 homes throughout Austin. Austin Resource Recovery plans to add all curbside customers to the service by 2020, pending funding approval in future years.
“During the pilot, the City collected more than 15,000 tons of compostable materials, including food scraps, yard trimmings and food-soiled paper such as pizza boxes,” said Austin Resource Recovery Interim Director Sam Angoori. “As we add more residents to the Curbside Composting Program, we look forward to keeping even more material out of the landfill and creating nutrient rich compost which can be used to fertilize plants, gardens and other outdoor areas in our community.”
Customers can expect the following program enhancements since the pilot was launched in 2013. A 32-gallon capacity cart will be available when the new collection begins. “We reduced the cart size based on feedback we received from customers in the pilot areas. We heard that the 96-gallon cart was too large and have adjusted to better meet customers needs,” said Austin Resource Recovery Interim Assistant Director Richard McHale. Additionally, BPI-certified compostable bags will now be accepted in the cart. This will address residents’ concerns about the “ick” factor by minimizing odors in the cart. Pilot customers will receive a postcard in the mail in early August with instructions on how to request a smaller 32-gallon green composting cart, if they choose to downsize. New customers will receive a 32-gallon cart before their service begins.
Residents included in this year’s Curbside Composting expansion will receive a notification postcard in the mail in early August informing them of their new service, and inviting them to an informational open house. At the open house, attendees will learn about Curbside Composting, what to put in and keep out of their new green cart, and receive a free kitchen food scraps collector and compostable bags. Curbside customers can also search their address in the My Schedule web app at austinrecycles.com to see if they are in the service expansion area.
A recent study showed that almost half of everything residential customers send to the landfill is compostable material. When buried in a landfill, compostable materials do not break down as they would in nature or in a compost pile. They decompose anaerobically, without oxygen, and in the process become the number one source of human-caused methane released into the atmosphere. Instead of going to a landfill, organic materials placed in the green carts are transported to a local composting facility, where they break down into compost. Compost helps soil retain water, and fertilizes lawns and gardens without using chemicals.
In addition to contributing to Austin’s Zero Waste goal, Curbside Composting may help residents save money on their utility bills. After putting food scraps and food-soiled paper in their green carts, customers will have less trash to throw away each week. This may allow them to downsize to a smaller, less expensive trash cart. Austin Resource Recovery offers four trash cart sizes – the smaller the cart, the less it costs each month.
Austin Resource Recovery provides a wide range of services designed to transform waste into resources while keeping our community clean. Services include curbside collection of recycling, trash, yard trimmings and large brush and bulk items; street sweeping; dead animal collection; household hazardous waste disposal and recycling; and outreach and education. In December 2011, the Austin City Council approved the Austin Resource Recovery Master Plan, which is the City’s roadmap to Zero Waste. The City of Austin is committed to reducing the amount of waste sent to area landfills by 90 percent by 2040 or sooner.
Communications and Public Information Office
301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701