Austin Reveals New Zero Waste Plan

The city aims to eliminate the majority of landfill waste by 2040.

1 minute read

November 8, 2023, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Three grey trash cans labeled with Compost, Recycle, and Landfill in English and Spanish on a concrete walkway in a park in Austin, Texas.

Jason / Adobe Stock

A new Comprehensive Plan from Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) charts the city’s path to zero waste, a commitment the city fell behind on after only diverting 40 percent of materials from landfills by 2020, short of its goal of 75 percent.

As Hannah Rossi reports in The Austin Chronicle, the plan identifies the city’s population growth, the increase in “abnormal weather events,” and waste stream privatization as challenges to achieving its zero waste by 2040 goal. According to the plan, privatization “precludes the city from being able to collect accurate data on its progress towards achieving zero waste, as companies fear that any numbers they share will become public record – and ammunition for competitors.”

The plan highlights the urgency of “more infrastructure, more recycling and circular economy education programs, and more access to digital tools and collection services.”

The agency says it has started work on several projects including “an EPA-funded furniture repair and reuse warehouse,” but “acknowledges that there is a long road ahead to ticking off the more than 60 near- and long-term goals it lays out in its Comprehensive Plan.”

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