The City of Austin's Solid Waste Services Department says it's going to produce a new reality TV program called Dare to Go Zero. The show would air on City of Austin's government channel and is aimed at encouraging Austinites to throw less garbage into the landfill. KUT News spoke with the City of Austin Solid Waste Services spokesperson Jennifer Herber about the project.
KUT News: What's this idea behind the reality show?
Jennifer Herber: Basically it's a zero waste challenge for anybody who has City of Austin garbage and recycling services. We want to help people to reduce their waste stream and get to our zero waste goals.
KUT News: What will contestants do on the show?
Herber: We are going to film for five weeks. Each week, the households will have a challenge where they have to reduce their waste stream. For example, they have to come up with a way to recycle more or do an art project out of the things they were going throw away. Whoever has the most "waste lost" will be the winner at the end.
KUT News: Where did you get this idea?
Herber: Instead of doing a regular educational campaign, we were trying to come up with a way to educate and also get people involved. Reality shows are really popular and we thought it would be a fun way to get people involved.
KUT News: Who's going to produce this show?
Herber: Channel 6.
KUT News: Channel 6 doesn't exactly have the highest ratings on the dial. How do you know anyone is going to watch it?
Herber: We are also going to be placing it on the city's YouTube channel and on our website. We will be also using social media and some traditional advertising through radio to build up some hype on this.
KUT News: Has the City of Austin done something like this before?
Herber: I don't think so. This might be the first time.
KUT News: Do you know if other cities have done this before?
Herber: We found that King County up in the Seattle area did a similar program where they challenged residents in their area to reduce their waste. But we are taking it a step further by adding the TV element. Theirs was documented through different events.
KUT News: If I've wanted to get involved, how do I sign up?
Herber: You can go to austinrecycles.com and there is an application online. The deadline is December 17.
KUT News: When will it start airing?
Herber: It will start airing in March.