Austin Ramps Up Recycling Regulations
New recycling rules are in effect for Austin’s biggest apartments and commercial buildings. A new, private recycling facility will handle much of the waste.
Andy Andrasi is the general manager of Balcones Resources, Inc., which has contracts to handle waste. Starting Wednesday, most recycling north of the Colorado River will be brought here for processing.
“Where we’re standing right now is the in- and outbound shipping area,” Andrasi says. “We do have materials that come in from costumers; they may have their own bailing.”
And now there will be more waste than ever, thanks to rules that require recycling programs at universities, at businesses that have more than 100,000 square feet of space, and at apartment complexes with more than 75 units. The City of Austin’s goal is to reach “zero-waste” by 2040. Andrasi says that won’t be easy.
“I think we’re doing a very good job on the collection side of things and the residential stream,” Andrasi says. “I think we’re going to have to broaden our thinking as to what’s actually going into the landfills. A vast majority of the material going into the landfills are organics, construction debris [and] large materials.”
Many of the businesses regulated already have recycling programs. The University of Texas plans to voluntarily become “zero-waste” by 2020. St. David’s recycles at all five of its hospitals. National Instruments’ Austin facility reports it has been recycling for the past 10 years.
Recycling rules will become more strictly enforced and apply to more businesses over time. The city expects to implement a second wave of rules one year from now, on Oct. 1, 2013.