The pack rat, or trader rat, is nature’s original recycler. Artist: John Dolley
• In 2015, the average Austin household disposed of 1.1 tons of solid waste per year. This amounted to 2.25 pounds per person per day. Only 38% of this was recycled.
• 90% of what was not recycled, including glass, metal, paper, plastics, and yard waste, could have been.
• Municipal Solid Waste in the U.S. was 254 million tons in 2013. However, about 50 pounds of raw materials is created for every pound of solid waste disposed of by consumers.
Six Things You Can Do to Get to Zero Waste
Take personal action to reduce your carbon footprint associated with water. Austin is a city that has made it easy to recycle, precycle, and compost. Don’t buy new, or buy high-quality materials that last. Join with other activists to persude the public and elected officials of the necessity of this “zero waste” goal and best policies to achieve it. (You can find such groups in the Environmental Groups section.)
Austin Resource Recovery Programs
In the 1980s, Austin began one of the first recycling programs in Texas for residences. Today, it offers expanded zero-waste services for residential customers as well as commercial businesses.
This is a map and list of the recycling drop-off centers and points in the greater Austin area and the materials that they collect.
Used Oil and Auto Material Drop-Off Centers
Here is a map and list of drop-off locations that recycle used oil and auto materials such as antifreeze and metal oil filters in the greater Austin area.
Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Centers and Hard to Recycle Waste Materials
Here is a map and list of HHW drop-off centers, their contact information, and wastes that they accept (and don’t accept). Also included are stores and locations that accept hard to recycle items such as plastic bags and packaging peanuts.
An interesting twist on composting is to raise worms in a way that allows water to dissolve their castings for easy distribution.