The City of Austin offers a Zero Waste Business Rebate that is available only to affected premises described in Section 15-6-91 of the City Code. To receive the rebate, the affected premises must meet the Zero Waste Business Rebate eligibility requirements and must otherwise comply with these rules, terms, and conditions.


1. Who is eligible to apply for a Zero Waste Business Rebate?

A person who is a responsible party for an affected premises that is required to comply with Chapter 15-6, Article 5 (Universal Recycling) of the City Code and meets the application requirements described in these Rules, Terms, and Conditions.

The following responsible parties are eligible to apply for the Zero Waste Business Rebate:

  • The owner of an affected premises or an employee of the owner;
  • The manager of an affected premises or an employee of the manager; or
  • A tenant or lessee on an affected premises, except for a tenant or lessee of a multifamily residence, who contracts or arranges with a hauler for solid waste service or who self-hauls. (Such a tenant or lessee can apply only on behalf of the portion of the affected premises over which the tenant or lessee has care, custody, control, or possession.)

Applications will be accepted from October 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021. Site visits must be conducted by August 1, 2021. No applications will be accepted after July 1, 2021.

2. How is the rebate amount determined?

An applicant may receive a rebate of up to $1,800 per fiscal year from the Zero Waste Business Rebate program. The rebate is only available to one affected premises per owner or property management company per fiscal year.

Rebate funds are not guaranteed. The rebate is available on a first-come, first-served basis and there is a limited amount of funding available for each category of eligible expenses. There is no reservation or rain-check system.

3. How does an eligible affected premises apply for and receive the Zero Waste Business Rebate?

  • A) A person (“the applicant”) may apply on behalf of an eligible affected premises by submitting the Zero Waste Business Rebate application and a signed copy of these rules, terms and conditions. As part of the application, the applicant must register the affected premises as a City of Austin vendor and provide a Vendor ID Number on the application form.

    To receive reimbursement, the affected premises must incur expenses only AFTER the City approves and signs its application and confirms rebate eligibility via e-mail. Any expenses incurred beforehand will NOT be eligible for reimbursement.
     

  • B) Once the City approves a rebate application, the affected premises can incur eligible expenses. To receive reimbursement, the applicant must submit itemized invoices for materials purchased or collection services received. The applicant must certify in writing that all invoices submitted are authentic and/or true and correct statements of the expenses incurred by the affected premises as part of the Zero Waste Business Rebate program.
     
  • C) The applicant must also submit any other documentation required for the relevant category of eligible expenses, as described in Section 4 of these rules, terms, and conditions.
     
  • D) The applicant or another person acting on behalf of the affected premises must complete all City staff surveys, and must complete an exit interview survey within six months of receiving final payment of the rebate funds from the City.

4. What are eligible expenses that can be reimbursed by the rebate, and how does an applicant show proof of the eligible expenses?

By signing these rules, terms, and conditions, the applicant acknowledges that the City, in its sole discretion, determines what an eligible expense is. The following services constitute eligible expenses for the Zero Waste Business Rebate:

A) Start an organics diversion program at an affected premises that is not a food enterprise under Section 10-3-61 (Permit Required) of the City Code.

Applicant must:

  • Provide an electronic or hard copy of a contract for at least six months of commercial organics diversion service. Service must be provided through a licensed private hauler.

  • When an applicant submits an application, City staff will verify that the affected premises is not a food enterprise that requires a food permit under Section 10-3-61 (Permit Required) of the City Code.

Rebate can be used for the following:

  • Purchase of BPI-certified compostable can liners (up to $150).

  • Reimbursement for up to six months of commercial organic service, not to exceed $200/month (up to $1,200).

  • Hauler start-up fee (a one-time fee), not to exceed $75.

  • Pouring a new concrete slab, to accommodate cart or dumpster capacity. (Please note that approval of a rebate application does not guarantee or imply approval of any associated site plan or a site plan exemption during the permitting process.) Provide electronic or hard copy receipts for construction materials and labor (up to $1,800).

  • Building a new enclosure/structure to house the new organics carts/containers. Provide electronic or hard copy receipts for construction materials and labor (up to $1,800).

B) Replacing single-use plastic bags with paper or reusable bags to be distributed at no cost to customers.

Applicant must:

  • Provide a purchase receipt for the purchase of single-use plastic bags within the six (6) months prior to rebate application date. The receipt shall verify the existing distribution of plastic bags at the affected premises seeking the rebate.

Rebate can be used to purchase and use the following:

  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-labeled paper bags
     
  • Reusable canvas bags or bags that are similar in make and material

C) Replace single-use plastic or foam containers, plates and cups with compostable or multi-use durable alternatives.

Applicant must:

  • Provide a purchase receipt of polystyrene or single-use plastic containers or cups within six (6) months prior to rebate application date. The receipt shall verify the existing distribution of polystyrene or single-use plastic containers or cups at the affected premises seeking the rebate.
     
  • If seeking a rebate for compostable products: Demonstrate that composting has occurred at the affected premises for at least three (3) months prior to submission of the rebate application and for at least three (3) months after submitting the rebate application, which can be shown by submitting at least one of the following:

    • An electronic or hard copy of a contract demonstrating that the applicant has commercial organics service. Service must be provided through a licensed private hauler;

    • Electronic or hard copies of receipts demonstrating that responsible parties for the affected premises regularly self-haul compost to a licensed composting facility; or

    • Electronic or hard copies of documentation demonstrating that there is active onsite composting at the affected premises.

Rebate can be used to purchase and use the following:

  • Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI)-certified compostable or 100% paper containers
     
  • BPI-certified compostable cups
     
  • Multiuse durable cups, plates, and containers for onsite consumption

D) Replace plastic straws with compostable or reusable straws.

Applicant must:

  • Provide a purchase receipt of plastic straws within six (6) months prior to rebate application date. The receipt shall verify the existing distribution of plastic straws at the affected premises seeking the rebate.
     
  • If seeking a rebate for compostable products: Demonstrate that composting has occurred at the affected premises for at least three (3) months prior to submission of the rebate application and for at least three (3) months after submitting the rebate application, which can be shown by submitting at least one of the following:

    • An electronic or hard copy of a contract demonstrating that the applicant has commercial organics service. Service must be provided through a licensed private hauler;

    • Electronic or hard copies of receipts demonstrating that responsible parties for the affected premises regularly self-haul compost to a licensed composting facility; or

    • Electronic or hard copies of documentation demonstrating that there is active onsite composting at the affected premises.

​​​​​​​Rebate can be used to purchase and use the following:

  • Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI)-certified compostable straws
     
  • 100% paper straws
     
  • Reusable straws for customer or employee use

E) Provide indoor recycling containers for use in residential units and residential community spaces at multifamily properties described in Section 15-6-91 of the City Code.

Rebate can be used to purchase the following:

  • Indoor recycling containers that are distributed to residents at no cost. Containers must be blue and have the chasing arrow recycling symbol. The cost of the containers may not exceed $20 per dwelling unit.
     
  • Indoor recycling containers for residential community spaces. Containers must be blue, have chasing arrow recycling symbol, and be placed within 25 feet of a trash collection container (up to $100).
     
    • Property must provide access to single-stream recycling.

F) Expand Food Rescue program infrastructure at an affected premises in Section 15-6-91 that distributes food to persons earning 50% or less of the Median Family Income (MFI) in Austin.

Applicant must:

  • Provide evidence that the organization distributes food to persons earning 50% or less of MFI in Austin; and
     
  • Provide evidence that an additional method of landfill diversion for organic material (that complies with the standards of City Code Chapter 15-6, Article 5 (Universal Recycling) is available at the affected premises.

Rebate can be used for the following:

  • Expand cold food storage that prolongs the life of edible food (up to $1,800 per affected premises).
     
  • Food safety transportation equipment including thermometers, coolers, and hot food insulated transporters (up to $1,800 per eligible affected premises).
     
  • Developing or improving non-perishable food storage space, including shelves and racks (up to $400 per affected premises).

5. What are NOT eligible expenses that may be reimbursed by the rebate?

  • Costs for providing the minimum onsite recycling and organics diversion services that Chapter 15-6 of the City Code requires the affected premises to provide.
     
  • Other costs for complying with the City Code.
     
  • Taxes, deposits, payment for employee training time, payment of City utility bills, service provider late payment fees, service provider contamination fees, or any other purpose not expressly allowed under these rules, terms and conditions.
     
  • Costs that exceed the approved rebate amount. The applicant or applicant’s representative is responsible for all costs that exceed the approved amount of the rebate.

6. What can DISQUALIFY an affected premises from receiving reimbursement under the Zero Waste Business Rebate program?

  • A) Failure to provide itemized invoices to verify that expenses are eligible for reimbursement;
     
  • B) Violation of the City of Austin Code, City regulations, state or federal law, or the rules, terms, and conditions of this program; or
     
  • C) Failure to pay taxes as required by the City Charter, Article VIII § 1 (Taxes—Arrears of Offset to Debt Against City).

7. What happens if an affected premises is DISQUALIFIED from participation in the Zero Waste Business Rebate Program?

If the applicant is disqualified before the City provides rebate funds, the City will not provide any rebate funds. If the applicant is disqualified after the City has paid rebate funds, then the applicant agrees to repay the City for the full amount of the rebate funds received. The applicant shall repay the funds within three (3) months of the date on which the City notifies the entity of disqualification.

BY SIGNING THESE RULES, TERMS, AND CONDITIONS, THE APPLICANT ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THE AFFECTED PREMISES SHALL BE LIABLE FOR REPAYMENT IF THE PREMISES FAILS TO TIMELY REPAY THE FUNDS FOLLOWING DISQUALIFICATION FROM THE ZERO WASTE BUSINESS REBATE PROGRAM.

8. Additional terms and conditions

  • A) The applicant understands that the City may amend or terminate the Zero Waste Business Rebate Program without notice, and understands that the receipt of rebate funds is contingent upon whether the applicant meets all program requirements and is not disqualified from the program.
     
  • B) The applicant understands that the City is not a party to any contract between the applicant and any third-party vendors or service providers. The applicant acknowledges that the City will not intervene in the event of a dispute with a third party.

9. Waiver of liability

I AGREE TO HOLD HARMLESS THE CITY OF AUSTIN, ITS EMPLOYEES, OFFICIALS AND CONTRACTORS FROM ANY AND ALL CLAIMS ARISING FROM MY PARTICIPATION IN THE ZERO WASTE BUSINESS REBATE PROGRAM. I FURTHER RECOGNIZE THAT THIS IS NOT A CONTRACT OR DEBT OF THE CITY.