Every year Austin adds a new material to its recycling stream. This year it’s aluminum. Tin foil and baking pans can now go in the blue single stream recycling containers for pickup.
The materials collected from recycling bins are sorted, packaged and sold so they can be processed into new materials. The new stream of aluminum waste will be sent out of the country, as are plastics and paper, currently. But the city is trying to develop more local sources for processing recycled waste. Bob Gedert is with Austin Resource Recovery.
“Glass is domestic and we will have more glass reprocessing plants within the state of Texas, perhaps in the Austin area," Gedert said. "So part of our economic development platform is to bring these processors and these companies to Austin.”
Gedert said that finding local processors is a long term plan.
Because recycling waste is less expensive than burying it in a landfill, efforts are underway to encourage Austinites to recycle more.
“We’re under utilizing our blue carts because there’s not enough of the recyclables going in," Gedert said. "We’re averaging about 25 pounds per household of recyclables per collection day and we really should be around 30 to 32 pounds per household.”
The city's goal is to divert as much as 90 percent of all garbage away from landfills.