Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Get Green!

As you guys know, I'm a hippie dressed in suburban mom's clothing. A friend of mine, Angie B., works for the City of Austin as a Waste Diversion Planner, which means that she's a part of the crew that oversees the recycling efforts for the city. So I asked her to inform us on some good recycling practices and an idea of what else we can do to help out the city's efforts to reduce, recycle, and reuse. Even if you don't reside in Austin, there is some really helpful info here, especially about how to recycle different materials, composting, etc. so please take a minute to read this post.

Be the change!!! Mer


A call to Austin citizens -

This is a letter to inform you of how the City of Austin practices their public recycling efforts as well as some further information you may find useful. Written in full via a city employee who cares and believes that we should all do what we can to make a difference. As cliché as it may sound…what each of us does, indeed has an impact!

The city offers many programs to help its citizens dispose of household waste as well as programs that will assist neighborhoods in beautifying streets and parks.

To begin, let’s visit the garbage collection. If you have city collection service (you pay the fee in your monthly utility bill) the city offer’s a Pay-As-you-Throw program which allows customers to choose between three sizes of carts – 130, 60, and 90 gallon – to meet their household needs. Garbage is collected once a week. (ps, there is no fee if you want to decrease the size of your can, but there is a fee if you choose to increase the size)

Next, we have Single Stream Recycling. In October of 2009, the city implemented a program that allows citizens to put all recyclable materials into the same blue, 90 gallon cart and the city will collect your cart bi-monthly. Items that are accepted are mix paper, cardboard, plastics (#1 -7), metal, glass, and box board (soda boxes, cereal boxes). The following items are not recyclable…window glass, broken glass, Styrofoam, yard trimmings, food items, metal hangers, garbage, and plastic grocery bags. The city will pick up your yard trimmings on your garbage day, but please do not put them into your garbage or recycling containers. You can take your plastic grocery bags where to the grocery store you frequent and they should be able to recycle them for you. The city is unable to recycle plastic bags because they are not heavy enough to weigh in the material recovery machinery and they end up clogging all the vacuum seals!

Yard Trimmings such as grass clippings, leaves, small branches can be tied and set out next to your garbage containers on garbage day and the city will collect them and take them to a facility in which they are turned into Dillo Dirt, which is a product that is sold in local hardware stores to be used as fertilizer and soil conditioner!

At this time, the city does not have the resources to offer a curb-side composting program, but we do urge you to create your own compost pile in your backyard with some chicken wire and stakes. Even if you don’t use the compost in your garden, you are still saving the air quality as 20% of our landfills are food scraps which decompose among garbage to create lethal levels of methane and CO2.

The city also offers the following services, and should you have any questions, please have a look at the following link,

**Large Brush Collection (2x/yr)

**Large Bulk Collection (2x/yr)

**Street Sweeping

**Dead Animal Control

**Litter Control

**Household Hazardous Waste Facility (open to the public 2 days/wk)

●ps, the public can also get FREEEEE paint and other chemicals at this facility’s Re-store!●

We also offer special services for the physically disadvantaged and elderly. For example, our collections staff will come up to your house to get your garbage and recycling containers should you be unable to get them to the curb!

Another program that the city offers is the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) which assists residents and neighborhood groups with neighborhood cleanups! With this program, neighbors can work together to help clean up their neighborhoods and rid alleys and vacant lots of litter and debris. Neighborhoods are limited to one cleanup per year. For more information, please call 974-4352.

We are here to help and educate, please feel free to call with any further questions or concerns…



sheridan said...

How about getting them to recycle GLASS!

Meredith said...

Actually, the City of Austin does recycle glass, but we're part of a neighborhood that uses a private recycling company and they don't recycle glass. It sucks!!! I hope the City of Cedar Park does recycle glass, because it drives me CRAZY throwing out all those wine, beer, and baby food bottles!! :(