Cans of paint

Frequently Asked Questions

Austin Brownfields Revitalization Office

What is a “Phase II” Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)?

A Phase II is a second-stage ESA done to confirm the presence or absence of recognized environmental conditions that may have been identified during the Phase I. The Phase II generally includes the collection and analysis of soil, sediment, groundwater, or surface water samples. The Phase II report often makes recommendations for further assessment or cleanup. 

What is a “Phase I” Environmental Site Assessment?

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is an initial assessment that is usually associated with a property transfer. A Phase I involves a review of ownership records and historical uses of the property, a site visit, and interviews, in order to identify any recognized environmental conditions that could have resulted in potential releases of hazardous substances to the environment. Many lending institutions require these Phase I ESAs to help ensure that they are not financing a contaminated site for which they may be held liable. The industry-accepted procedure for a Phase I ESA is published by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International, and is available at a charge through their website.

What is a “weight ticket summary” or "Qualified Processor report" and who provides them?

Usually, your private haulers will provide summaries of the loads of construction debris removed from the jobsite. These summaries will list for each load of debris the date, ticket number, and weights of material landfilled or diverted from the landfill.

If a Qualified Processor sorted commingled construction debris from the project, the Qualified Processor will provide a summary report of the total tons processed and the facility’s average diversion rate.

If you have weight tickets but no summary, download this spreadsheet and enter the weight ticket information to develop your own summary.

When is the report due for a project with multiple permits?

The report is normally due when a contractor requests the Final Inspection. For projects with multiple permits, a contractor usually requests separate Final Inspections for each permit. In that case, before requesting the first Final Inspection, the contractor should save (but not submit) a report with all the permit numbers. That way, the Report will be due when the contractor requests the Final Inspection for the last permit.

Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center

What items are accepted at the Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center?

Here are the lists of items that are and are not accepted at the Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center.

Household Hazardous Waste

Accepted Items

  • Cleaning products
  • Automotive fluids and oil filters
  • Paint and thinners
  • Fluorescent light bulbs
  • Batteries (car and household)
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Mercury
  • Aerosol cans
  • Pool chemicals
  • Cooking oil
  • Propane cylinders

Not Accepted

  • Radioactive materials
  • Syringes and medical waste
  • Explosive materials (including ammunition)
  • Any waste generated by a business (businesses in Austin and Travis County can exchange materials with each other through the Austin Materials Marketplace)

Electronics and Appliances

Accepted Items

  • Televisions
  • Computers
  • Electronic media, such as CDs (remove and throw away jewel cases), DVDs and floppy disks
  • Printers and fax machines
  • Cell phones and chargers
  • Lawn mowers and weed eaters

Large appliances

  • Washers and dryers
  • Stoves
  • Water heaters
  • Air conditioners
  • Exercise equipment

Small appliances

  • Lamps
  • Microwaves
  • Kitchen appliances

Not Accepted

  • Mattresses
  • Furniture
  • Toilets
  • Non-recyclable trash

Other Recyclables

Accepted Items

  • Plastic bags (clean and dry)
  • Plastic film / plastic wrap (clean and dry)
  • Styrofoam (clean and dry -- NO peanuts)
  • Scrap metal

Large hard plastic items

  • Lawn chairs and furniture
  • Playground equipment
  • Children’s pools
  • Pet carriers
  • Trash cans

Single-stream recyclables

  • Cardboard
  • Hard plastic
  • Paper
  • Cans and foil
  • Glass bottles and jars

Not Accepted

  • Mattresses
  • Furniture
  • Toilets
  • Non-recyclable trash
  • Styrofoam Packing Peanuts

Reducing waste at events

How Do I Calculate The Diversion Rate?

After your event, make sure you collect a breakdown of materials by weight. Simply divide the total weight of recycling and organic materials by the total weight of all materials gathered at your event. You’ll collect a diversion rate (percentage) to see how well you recycled at your event! 

What Is Required For My Permit Application?

Each event is required to develop and submit a waste management plan as part of their Austin Center for Events permit application. The plan should include details about access to any on site landfill trash, recycling, and organic diversion. This includes all areas of the event venue, surrounding areas leading to the event, during event setup, and post event cleaning associated with your event. In order to reach Austin’s zero waste goal, we encourage events to provide recycling and organic efforts at your event. 

Residential Recycling Collection

Can I recycle plastic bags, films and wrappers?

You cannot recycle plastic bags, films and wrappers in your blue cart. We process recyclables at two local recycling processing facilities that use automated systems to sort and bale the recyclables. Prohibited items, like plastic bags, jam the automated machinery.

Take plastic shopping bags to your local grocery stores or to the Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center to be recycled.

Do I need to prepare items before putting them in the cart?

Rinse recyclables to remove food residue

Dry paper before putting it in your cart

Flatten boxboard and corrugated cardboard

Remove any metal components from plastic items.

Note: Do not place recyclables in a plastic bag. Plastic bags are not accepted in our curbside recycling program and contribute to contamination.

What are the guidelines for recycling plastics?
  • Remove metal components from plastic items
  • Empty and rinse items before recycling them. 
  • Make sure all items fit inside the blue recycling cart with the lid closed.
  • Only hard plastics are accepted; plastic foam, plastic bags, and plstic wrap are not allowed. 
What can we do as a community to increase our recycling rate?
  • Set out your blue recycling cart every two weeks, even if it’s not full.
  • Never let recyclables go into the trash. Give your trash another life!
  • Become an advocate – encourage your friends, co-workers and neighbors to join the challenge and help our great city live up to its green reputation. You can even become a Zero Waste Block Leader.
What if all my recycling doesn't fit in the cart?

If you cannot fit all of your recyclables in your cart, you may place additional items in a cardboard box or a reusable container. If you have excess cardboard, please cut or fold the cardboard into 2 feet by 2 feet piles, and tie them into manageable bundles with string or twine. Place the bundles next to your recycling cart. Extra recyclables will be picked up at no extra change.

To make more room in your cart, crush recyclables like cans, plastic jugs and bottles. Be sure to "break down" or flatten boxboard and corrugated cardboard so that it fits more easily into the cart.

If you frequently run out of room in your recycling cart between pickups, you can request an additional blue cart free of charge by calling Austin Energy at 512-494-9400.

What items cannot be recycled in the cart?
  • Plastic bags
  • Garden hoses
  • Styrofoam (cups, egg cartons, take-out containers)
  • Soiled pizza boxes from take-out or delivery services
  • Yard waste/leaves (set out for yard trimmings pick up)
  • Food waste
  • Trash (you may be charged for extra trash if you put trash in your recycling cart)
  • Helium tanks
  • Large metal items such as frying pans and metal pipes
  • Large plastic items (plastics that are gallon-sized or smaller are ok)
  • Wire coat hangers (recycle at your local dry cleaners)

Why we can't take these items

The recycling processing facility uses an automated system to sort and bale the recyclables. Prohibited items will jam the automated machinery.

Who do I call if my house gets missed?

Austin Resource Recovery collects trash from almost 30,000 homes each day. Occasionally, crews miss a house. Sometimes the crews are not able to collect the material safely or a road hazard or blockage may prevent access. If there is a problem with the material that prevents collection, a notice will be left behind to let you know the problem.

If you haven’t received a notice and you placed the material at the curb by 6:30 a.m. on your collection day:

  • Leave the missed items at the curb and call Austin Resource Recovery at 3-1-1.
  • You may contact us by e-mail. Please include your address, a contact number and the items that were missed. We will come by to pick up the missed material as soon as possible.

Residential services

My cart wasn't collected. Who do I call?

Call Austin Resource Recovery at 3-1-1. We will come by to pick up the missed material as soon as possible.