The city of Austin will expand its program that collects compost materials from residents’ homes in September.
Starting Sept. 23, an additional 53,000 homes will have the curbside compost service, bringing the total number of homes in the program to 148,000, about three-fourths of Austin Resource Recovery’s customers. This will be the second-to-last phase of the program’s four-year rollout, which will conclude in 2020, according to a news release.
“Since the program began, ARR has collected almost 100 million pounds of compostable material in the green carts,” ARR interim Director Richard McHale said in a news release. “As we expand this program to more customers, we keep more compostable material out of area landfills and make larger strides toward achieving Austin’s Zero Waste goal.”
Items that may be composted include food scraps; soiled paper products, such as pizza boxes; and yard trimmings. Residents will put these items into their green compost cart provided by the city and then take the cart to the curb on their designated collection day.
To collect compostable material before collection day, residents may put material into a kitchen collector bin or use certified Biodegradable Products Institute bags that are compostable and then place the bags in their green cart. Yard trimmings will also go into the green cart.
“We understand there are times of higher influx of yard trimmings, so we ask you to fill your green cart first and place any remainder in lawn and leaf bags or in a reusable container next to your cart,” said Memi Cárdenas, ARR senior public information specialist.
The Curbside Composting Collection Program started as a pilot in 2013 as one of the ways to achieve the city’s goal to divert 90% of material from city landfills by 2040. ARR expanded the pilot in 2017 with the first phase of homes.
In a 2015 Community Diversion Study, the city found 37% of all material that goes to the landfill is organic material that could be put to better use, such as being donated or composted, Jason McCombs, environmental conservation program manager with ARR, previously told Community Impact Newspaper.
Programs such as curbside composting as well as the organics diversion ordinance that deters restaurants from tossing food will help the city achieve its 2040 goal, McCombs said.
“We’re working toward a circular economy so that all products can be redesigned and reused to help minimize the impacts on the environment and help build the regional economy,” he said.
The city of Austin is hosting several informational open houses in the next couple of months. Residents can learn more about the curbside compost program and receive free resources. For more information, visit www.austintexas.gov/austincomposts.