Austin, TX Zero Waste Plan

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Austin, TX, US

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Type: (Draft) Policy

Status: Initiated in April 2008

Source File:


DRAFT Recommendations
Austin Zero Waste Policies and Programs

Gary Liss & Associates drafted these recommendations to be part of the Austin Zero Waste Plan. These are DRAFT only, for public review and comment.

Upstream Policy And Program Options

1. Be a strong advocate for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation and programs regionally, statewide and nationally. Work to form the Texas Product Stewardship Council composed only of representatives of local government to clearly address this “unfunded mandate.”

2. Work to obtain legal authority and regional cooperation to ban problem products and packaging or require businesses and institutions to take back designated products and packaging sold in Austin, CAPCOG, and in the State that are toxic in their manufacture, use, or disposal, and/or are not currently recyclable in the area.

3. Develop public/private and or intergovernmental partnerships to setup convenient neighborhood centers for reusables, recyclables, compostables, C&D and household hazardous wastes.

4. Explore other ways to encourage and support on-site composting at homes, schools and colleges, businesses and institutions with sufficient space.

Downstream Policy And Program Options

1. Adopt a City goal that no compostable organics go to landfill due to climate change by 2015 including support of a statewide legislative initiative.

2. Develop pilot programs by the City of Austin and through public/private partnerships to incorporate food scraps and food-soiled paper to City of Austin’s residential organics collection program.

3. Investigate and develop needed legal authority to require businesses and institutions in Texas to recycle food scraps and food-soiled paper and mandate private haulers and solid waste management facility operators to establish needed infrastructure to properly manage those materials.

4. Update, expand, educate and effectively implement the Commercial and Multi-Family Recycling Ordinance and encourage other governmental entities to follow Austin’s lead.

5. Support continuation and expansion of local, regional and state landfill fees and surcharges, hauling fees, and bond issues to fund low-interest loans, grants, contracts and/or staffing (comparable to other large cities) to develop needed programs and infrastructure.

6. City review residential Pay As You Throw rate structure on regular basis at a minimum of every five years to phase-in more incentives for residents to reduce wastes and recycle more, particularly once commingled recycling program is implemented. Include innovative ways to address the use of excess garbage bags 1.and stickers to promote recycling. Include additional revenue needed to fund new residential Zero Waste initiatives in structuring rates.

7. Set up system for commercial waste hauling that specifies recycling services, reporting and hauling fees.

8. City of Austin agencies lead by example to implement all actions asked or required of residents & business.

9. Encourage venues and special events to adopt Zero Waste goal and use incentives and technical assistance to help them implement goals.

10. Continue programs on an on-going basis to educate residents, businesses and visitors about how and where to reduce, reuse and recycle in Austin.

Green Business, Green Buildings And Jobs

1. City develop one or more Green Districts and/or Resource Recovery Parks in Austin (or nearby) and encourage development within CAPCOG region.

2. Expand Austin’s use of required Green Building waste management and recycling standards for all major projects in the City, not just special development areas.

3. Work with Austin Energy Green Building Program to revise recycling goals to be based on % diverted from facilities certified by Austin Energy, another City department, or CapCOG.

4. Work with Austin Energy Green Building Program to revise its reuse goals to value the recovered products by the price for which they are sold, or some multiple of their weight, to reflect the higher value of reuse.

5. Work to pass an Ordinance to require in all new construction that adequate space be provided for recycling, composting and trash containers.

6. Ask Businesses to adopt and implement Zero Waste goals.

7. Work with TxDOT and local governments to use more recycled and compost products.

8. Adopt Precautionary Principle for City purchases and Zero Waste purchasing goals.

Regional Coordination

1. Ask CapCOG and all counties that currently use landfills in Travis and Williamson Counties to adopt Zero Waste as a goal and to work to implement that goal.

2. Ask CapCOG SWAC to adopt a resolution in support of Austin’s Zero Waste Plan, to provide a model for additional reuse, recycling and composting programs that could be replicated throughout the region.

3. Investigate alternatives for regional and state cooperation to support and implement the above policies in jurisdictions outside the City of Austin and support needed State legislative initiatives.