The wait is over. Curbside composting is coming to 38,000 new Austin households this summer.
Over the past few years, Austin Resource Recovery has been rolling out curbside composting services bit by bit. Currently, 52,000 households have access to the service, with the goal of providing it to all single family households by 2020.
(Apartments and condos are not served by Austin Resource Recovery. It is up to building managers to provide recycling services to those residents. Providing composting services is not required.)
With this latest rollout, nearly half of Austin Resource Recovery’s customers will have access to curbside composting services. Want to see if you made the cut? You can type your address into this website.
A recent study found that nearly half of what residential customers in Austin throw away is actually compostable. Nearly half! When these materials are sent to the landfill, they aren’t able to break down naturally. As Austin Resource Recovery explains, these materials instead decompose anaerobically, without oxygen, and in the process become the number one source of human-caused methane released into the atmosphere.
For those who aren’t aware, methane is potent greenhouse gas that causes climate change. Because of this, composting fulfills the City of Austin’s dual goals of taking action on climate change and reducing the amount of trash we send to the landfill.
How does it work?
If your house is included in this next curbside composting expansion, you’ll be receiving a postcard in the mail soon inviting you to an educational open house. At the event, you’ll be able to learn more about composting and what to put in the green cart. You’ll also receive a free kitchen food scraps collector and compostable bags.
So what can you put in the bin?
- Food scraps – including meats and bones
- Spoiled food
- Yard trimmings
- Cotton balls
- Pizza boxes
- Soiled paper, like napkins (clean paper should still be recycled)
- Popsicle sticks
So how do you prepare for the new service?
If you’re about to get curbside composting, the City of Austin will provide you with the big green bin for outside of your house, but you’ll also need to get a small bin for inside (unless you get one for free at an Austin Resource Recovery open house). There are plenty of kitchen/indoor compost bins that you can buy online or at retail stores like Target and World Market. These bins usually have a charcoal liner and tight fitting lid to trap odors.
To help reduce odors in your kitchen, you can also sprinkle baking soda into your compost or collect all your food scraps in a reusable container in the freezer. To help keep your kitchen bin clean, you can also line it with a paper bag or a BPI-certified compostable bag. When purchasing compostable bags, just be sure that they have this logo on them (see below).
More information about how to avoid compost-related odors in your kitchen is available in the video below: