AUSTIN, TEXAS – Results from a comprehensive study found that more than 80 percent of materials in the community’s trash could have been recycled or composted.
The 2015 Community Diversion Study was initiated by the City Council as part of its vision for reaching Zero Waste in Austin. Austin Resource Recovery worked closely with a private firm to develop the study by broadly measuring recycling, composting and other diversion activities throughout the city. Data collection focused on Austin homes, businesses, apartments and commercial properties.
“To ensure this Study was as comprehensive as possible, we looked at more than just recycling. City and contractor staff worked diligently to measure the results of reduction, reuse, donation and other activities in our community that result in fewer materials being sent to landfills or incinerators,” said Aiden Cohen, Environmental Conservation Program Manager for Austin Resource Recovery.
Overall, the study concluded that Austin’s community-wide diversion rate is about 42 percent. This Zero Waste initiative’s goal for 2015 is 50 percent diversion. More specifically, the study revealed that businesses and apartments generated more than 85 percent of the discards in our community. City-collected materials from single family homes are less than 15 percent of the total trash and recycling generated in Austin. Additionally, about 37 percent of materials sent to area landfills could have been composted.
“I’m extremely encouraged by the results of this study,” said Austin Resource Recovery Director Bob Gedert. “The report has provided us with valuable data that shows us how we are doing and where we need to improve as a community in order to reach Council’s vision of Zero Waste.”
The results of the study, including the data and related calculations, are available online. Staff contends that the methodology used could be replicated in future years to measure progress towards Zero Waste goals.
About Austin Resource Recovery
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. For more information, visit austinrecycles.com.
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