Making sure your old stuff doesn’t clog up Austin’s landfills just got a whole lot easier, as the City of Austin just announced expanded curbside recycling service to include clothing and housewares, according to a press release. Starting December 5, Austinites using city trash services will be able to load up their new green bags, provided by Simple Recycling, with clothing and housewares including shoes, accessories, fabric scraps, stuffed toys, linens, tools, toys, hats, purses, kitchenware and books.
This new program is a partnership between the city and the independent company Simple Recycling to offer this service completely free to residents. They’re basically making it as simple as possible to recycle as much as we can — all participants need to do is fill up their green bag and place it on the curb next to their blue recycling bin. The service is available alongside regular recycling days. Once your green bag has been used, it will be replaced with a new green bag. Simple as that.
Active participation in this program will hopefully help to drastically reduce the nearly 3,322 TONS of textiles that make their way to Austin landfills each year (according to a 2014 waste characterization study).
“This new service is a step in the right direction to help us get on track to meet our benchmarks for Zero Waste,” Bob Gedert, Austin Resource Recovery Director, said in a press release. “The most recent figures show our diversion rate is about 42 percent, so if we hope to meet our next benchmark – keeping 75 percent of waste out of landfills by 2020 – we are asking all customers to use this program to ensure these materials are not going to the landfill.”
Austinites who don’t receive curbside services from Austin Resource Recovery, such as those who live in apartments, can still participate, by dropping off clothing and housewares at the City’s Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center at 2514 Business Center Drive.
And if you’re wondering what will happen to all of these items, the press release went on about the future of your used goods:
Simple Recycling will pay the City of Austin $20 per ton of material collected and they will keep the remaining profits from the sale of the collected items. This allows them to make a profit while providing the service to the City and its residents free of charge. They will sell as many items for reuse as possible, first within the state of Texas, then nationally, then internationally. Items that cannot be reused will be sold for recycling. Only items that cannot be reused or recycled will be disposed of in the landfill.
So what’s left to actually make it into those big grey trash bins? Well, food products for one. If you’re looking to reduce that type of trash, the city also has programs to support composting projects.
For more information about Austin Resource Recovery recycling efforts, visit their website.
Featured photo provided by Austin Resource Recovery