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Austin hoping to reduce amount of trash in landfills through curbside composting program

The program collects food scraps, yard trimmings, food-soiled paper, cardboard boxes and more and converts them all into nutrient-rich compost.

AUSTIN, Texas — The City of Austin wants to reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills by 90% by the year 2040. One way to help make that happen is by educating more homeowners about curbside composting.

Beginning Saturday, Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) – which is Austin's recycling and solid waste department – is kicking off a series of 10 open houses throughout Austin for homeowners to learn more about the curbside composting program. 

By Sept. 23, ARR is expected to provide Composting Collection to nearly three-quarters of its curbside customers. About 53,000 new homes will be added to the 95,000 that are already being serviced by the program. 

"We currently serve half the city as it is now. We've had a lot of customer feedback saying they want to compost in their neighborhood, and it's one of our methods to increase our diversion throughout our community to get to our zero-waste goal," said Richard McHale, interim director for ARR.

RELATED: 53,000 new Austin households will receive Curbside Composting Collection

The curbside composting program collects food scraps, yard trimmings, food-soiled paper, cardboard boxes and more and converts them all into nutrient-rich compost. 

"Just as a rule of thumb, 'if it grows, it goes,' so you can put that [fruits, vegetables] in your cart, not plastic bags please and no dog waste in the carts."

The program first began with a pilot in December of 2012 in 7,900 homes. In February of 2014, 6,500 homes were added.

RELATED: 'Waste free by 2040': City enters next phase in recycling ordinance

The first expansion of the program was to 38,000 homes in October 2017. 

The goal is to add 53,000 homes by September of 2019. All remaining customers, which is approximately 60,000, will be added in 2020, pending approval from Austin City Council.

The first open house will be Saturday, July 27 beginning at 1 p.m. at the Doris Miller Auditorium, located at 2300 Rosewood Avenue.

Below is a list of the dates and locations for the other open houses:

  • Aug. 3
    From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church
  • Aug. 7
    From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Shalom Austin, Dell Jewish Community Campus
  • Aug. 10
    From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Asian American Resource Center
  • Aug. 17
    From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Kenneth Gardner Service Center 
  • Aug. 22
    From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Unity Church 
  • Sept. 7
    From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Dittmar Recreation Center
  • Sept. 14
    From 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Gus Garcia Recreation Center
  • Sept. 21 
    From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at South Austin Recreation Center
  • Sept. 28 
    From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Trinity Church

WATCH: Take This Job: Recycling operator


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