Austin Resource Recovery selected 7,900 households in five different locations across the City of Austin to participate in the Curbside Organics Collection Pilot. Areas were selected to represent the city’s demographics, and to include collection on each of our service days, Monday through Friday.
Over the course of this one-year pilot, we will gather and analyze data, evaluate the efficiency of our collection routes and refine our curbside organics collection services.
When will this pilot end?
The pilot will officially end in December 2013. However, curbside organics collection will remain a permanent weekly collection service for all pilot households going forward. In coming years, Austin Resource Recovery will expand the Curbside Organics Collection Program to include more households.
How much am I paying for this service?
The fees on your utility bill will not change with this new service. Austin Resource Recovery provides bundled services to manage your trash, recycling and organics collection services. Costs are based on your trash cart size – the smaller the cart, the less it costs. Fees appear on your monthly utility bill. Learn more about trash cart size options and costs. To change your trash cart size, call 512-494-9400.
What will happen to the organic materials in my cart after the materials are collected?
After we collect your organic materials at the curb, they are transported to Organics "By Gosh”, a local composting facility.
Organics "By Gosh” staff then mixes the organic materials with ground-up brush and applies water to the mixture. The compost then begins to slow-cook at about 131oF, allowing microbes, and tiny living organisms to thrive and break down all the toxic and harmful substances in the mixture. After nine to 12 months, the mixture is transformed into nutrient-rich compost that is ready to fertilize lawns and gardens. To learn more about this process, visit organicsbygosh.com
Should I recycle or compost my paper products?
Paper is a very valuable resource as it is both recyclable and compostable. Clean paper products, such as unwanted mail, glossy and matte office paper and cardboard can be recycled into new paper products. Please place clean paper items into the blue recycling cart, so they can be recycled into new paper products.
Food-soiled paper, however, cannot be recycled into new products. Once paper has been soiled, it loses much of its resale and reuse value. Luckily, paper is also compostable. Please place food-soiled paper, such as paper plates, cups, napkins, tissues and paper towels into your green organics cart. These food-soiled paper products will be turned into nutrient-rich compost.
For example, you could place the bottom half of a greasy, food-soiled pizza box in the green organics cart and place the clean, residue-free top half in the blue recycling cart. Or, you could place the entire pizza box in the green organics cart. However, you should not place the entire pizza box in the blue recycling cart, as it has some food-residue remaining on it.
What should I do if I can’t fit all of my yard trimmings in my organics cart?
If you are unable to fit all of your yard trimmings in your cart with the lid closed, please put the remaining yard trimmings in lawn-and-leaf paper bags or in reusable containers no larger than 34 gallons. You may also tie small branches into manageable bundles with string or twine and place them at the curb. They will be collected at no extra charge.
Can I put bags that are labeled “compostable” or “biodegradable” in my cart?
No. Bags that are labeled “compostable” or “biodegradable” break down at a significantly slower rate than the organic materials accepted in the Curbside Organics Collection Program. If you choose to bag your food scraps, please use a paper option.
How big is the organics cart?
Can I request a smaller organics cart?
At this time, Austin Resource Recovery only offers a 96-gallon green organics cart. We will re-evaluate the size of the organics carts at the end of the pilot.
I already compost at home. Should I still use my green cart?
We congratulate you for composting at home and encourage you to continue to do so. However, there are many items that we accept in the green organics cart that are not suitable for a residential compost pile. For example meats, poultry, seafood, dairy products and bones should not be composted at home. We encourage you to add these items to your green cart each week!
I have leftover cooking grease and oil. Can I put them in my green cart?
No. Fats, oils and greases are not acceptable materials. However, greasy foods and food-soiled papers can be placed in your cart. You can dispose of cooking fats, oil and grease at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility.
I don’t have enough room to set my carts 5 feet apart. What should I do?
As a general rule, we ask that you set your carts 5 feet apart so our automated trucks can safely collect your materials. If you do not have enough space to set all three of your carts 5 feet apart, we ask that you set them out with as much space between carts as possible. Thank you for helping keep our drivers safe on the job.
How large is the food scrap collector?
The food scrap collector has a capacity of 9 liters (2.4 gallons).
What is the purpose of the carbon filter on my food scrap collector?
The food scrap collector’s carbon filter is designed to reduce odors in the collector.
The manufacturer recommends replacing the carbon filter every 2-3 months, and to remove it before washing your collector. Replacement carbon filters can be purchased online, from a home and garden store, or you can cut your own filter from a larger carbon filter sheet. The City of Austin does not supply replacement filters.
Can I request another food scrap collector?
Currently, we are only able to provide one food scrap collector to each household participating in the pilot. Reusable containers, like resealable plastic containers and take-out containers, are also great receptacles for food scraps.