Austin's reality show "Dare to go Zero" debuts on Earth Day



Posted on April 22, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Austin is known as a green city. Now it is taking its message to television in a new reality show.

“Basically one of the things I’ve done is bring two trash cans into the house,” said Tami Kyle. I recycle a lot more when I have another can.”

She has cleaned up her act thanks to the City of Austin.

“You can see my recycling is full, and my garbage is very small.”

Kyle applied and was selected to be a contestant on a new Austin reality TV show called "Dare to Go Zero."

The reality show was created and produced by the city. Its mission is to educate Austin residents about how to drastically reduce waste in their homes.  

“It is about changing behaviors,” said Jennifer Herber with the Solid Waste Services Department. “We really are trying to find ways to reduce waste and really that is a benefit to everyone.”

Kyle applied to be on the show because her teenage son, Triston, does not recycle. She hopes that will change.

“Kids are into reality TV,” she said. “This is something that will really engage him and make him think about versus mom just nagging him about recycling.”

Fifty-two families applied for the show; only four were chosen. They were all gunning for a $2,000 grand prize, but they all walked away with so much more.

“Really everything in the home has changed," said Cassandra Johnson. 

Johnson, her daughter Martaeya Walker, and partner, Ashley Tompkins, were also chosen for the reality show.  

“We had no clue how to recycle or what to recycle,” Johnson said. “We knew we had a blue bin out in the front yard, but that was for decoration.”

She says the show has taught her about the four Rs -- reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink.

“You learn to put it in the compost. You learn to put it in a recycling bin, and you can go zero waste," Johnson said.

The four families will compete for five weeks as city cameras follow them as they try to go zero waste.  There will be weekly dares that will test their recycling and waste reduction knowledge.

While it was difficult for families, they all have a message for Austin residents: “If we can do it, anybody can.”
The city hopes the show will catch on with residents and help Austin reach its goal of reducing 90 percent of landfill waste by 2040.
To learn more about Zero Waste or watch Dare to go Zero click here.