waste: you can live without it
There are plenty of steps you can take today to render our landfills obsolete. Adopt a zero waste goal for your own household!
Here’s a recycling guide for Central Texas. It’s intended to answer the question, “How do I recycle that?” and may not include all recycling facilities. Both the City of Austin and Ecology Action also maintain recycling super-lists:
The CAPCOG Solid Waste Program has developed an easy to use mapping tool to find the most convenient facility for you to drop off your recycling, household hazardous waste (HHW), or just about any household waste product. Simply click on the points in the map below and find the facility nearest you! From there you will find contact information and/or links to a web page where you can obtain more information about the services offered. If you see a $, this is a location where you may sell some of your recyclable materials. Not all recyclable materials accepted, please contact facility for details. Courtesy of Mickey Roberts, Capitol Area Council of Governments.
View Capital Area Recycling and Waste Drop-off Locations in a larger map
Paper & cardboard
The City of Austin curbside recycling program accepts most types of paper: newspapers, office paper,envelopes, junk mail, magazines and catalogs. All types of cardboard are accepted. For other paper products not covered (such as phone books), Ecology Action is on Ninth St and IH 35 (southbound access road). Drop-off hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends.
For your office, school or church, several services are available that can provide recycling “dumpsters:”
Abibiti Paper Retriever • 866-662-7446
Balcones Resources • 512-472-6200
Tri-Recycling • 512-329-0172
Recycling Services Incorporated • 512-832-5678
Trusty Pickup Services • 512-347-1026
Plastic bottles & containers
Cycled Plastics accepts packaging sytofoam, # 1 and # 2 bottles, # 2 flower pots and plastic bags.
10200 McKalla Place, 512-339-8787. Drop-off from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays.
All area grocery stores such as H-E-B, Whole Foods and Randall’s offer plastic bag recycling. H-E-B’s program also accepts produce bags, bags from the dry cleaner, newspaper bags and the plastic shrink wrap that surrounds paper towels or toilet paper. Ecology Action also accepts plastic bags.
City of Austin curbside recycling accepts aluminum, tin or other metal cans. Ecology Action accepts metal cans and lids, and aluminum foil or containers. Many businesses will purchase scrap metals. A quick look in a phone book will give you several options.
As you probably know from experience, there are many every-day products that aren’t very easy to recycle. However, even these “other” wastes may have good recycling options. Sometimes, a little common sense actually works. For instance, shipping stores like UPS will take foam packing peanuts and dry cleaners will usually accept clothes hangers. Here are recycling solutions for some other problem products:
There is currently only one location for foam recycling:
Cycled Plastics accepts foam packaging or to-go containers, drop-off at 10200 McKalla Place. 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays only. 512-339-8787.
Beware -- many companies that claim to offer electronic waste recycling are actually “sham recyclers” that simply export this toxic trash to developing nations where it is burned or dumped. As of January 2010, no e-waste recycler in Central Texas has signed the Basel Action Network’s pledge for responsible recycling practices. Sony, Dell and HP are the manufacturers that have the strongest policies against export. For more details about e-waste recycling, visit www.e-stewards.org
If you have working equipment, consider donating it to an area non-profit for re-use. If not, many manufacturers offer recycling programs for their products. See www.texasrecyclescomputers.org for a list of computer makers that offer free recycling. Also, all Austin-area Goodwill and Best Buy locations recycle computers, cell phones and TVs. Most cell phone providers such as Sprint, AT&T and Verizon offer recycling at their stores. All Best Buy and FedEx/Kinkos locations also accept cell phones, chargers and PDAs. Ecology Action accepts cell phones as well. For a complete list of e-waste recycling information in Texas, see .www.texastakeback.org
Earth Protection Services also accepts TVs and other electronic waste for recycling, but they charge for recycling all brands except Sony:
3920 Gattis School Road, Ste. 112, Round Rock, 512-251-4691.
Most home improvement stores like Home Depot accept rechargable batteries. A full list can be found at www.rbrc.org. For non-rechargable batteries, use the City of Austin Household Hazardous Waste Facility:
2514 Business Center Drive • 512-974-4343. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 12 noon to 6 p.m., first Saturday of each month, 7 a.m. to 12 noon.
Most automotive centers will accept used motor oil, car batteries, or other automotive wastes for recycling. Call before delivering. The City of Austin Household Hazardous Waste Facility also accepts many such items.
2514 Business Center Drive • 512-974-4343.
Austin residents can place appliances such as refrigerators or dryers on the curb during their bulky collection, or drop off items at the Landfill Diversion Recycling Center: 10108 FM 812 • 512-243-1894.
Weekdays only, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Ecology Action also accepts washing machines and dryers, stoves, and water heaters.
The Habitat ReStore accepts re-usable building supplies. This is a great place to shop, too!
310 Comal St • 512-478-2165
Weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Compost your organic waste!
Yard trimmings and food waste alone make up nearly 25% of our waste; combined with paper and wood, “compostable organics” make up two-thirds of our waste. Organic waste is the main contributor to methane gas emissions, which plays a major role in the gobal climate crisis. For more information about waste and climate change, visit www.cool2012.com and www.stoptrashingtheclimate.org
Composting is a simple and effective way to re-use organic waste. Home composting requires little more than yard clippings and food scraps, and can be done even in the smallest efficiency apartment. This same process can be scaled up to handle large generators of organic waste such as restaurants and supermarkets.
Home composting usually involves building a pile or bin and providing conditions that encourage decomposition. The decomposition process is fueled by millions of microscopic organisms (bacteria, fungi) that take up residence inside your compost pile, continuously devouring and recycling it to produce a rich organic fertilizer. Worms are sometimes used to speed up the process or to accomodate smaller spaces.
There are many resources available with detailed information and instructions for home composting. Here are a few places to start:
The U.S. EPA maintains a comprehensive website about composting for information and education. Visit www.epa.gov/compost.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality offers a detailed publication on environmental lawncare, including composting, earthworms, grasscycling, water conservation, and Integrated Pest Management: A Green Guide to Yard Care.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free copy, or download at:
The Travis County Master Gardener Association offers free advice, publication reprints, and demonstration projects to the general public. It provides information on: composting; lawns; ornamental plants; insect, disease, and weed management; soils and plant nutrition; vegetable gardening; home fruit production; garden flowers; and water conservation. Texas AgriLife Extension Office: 1600-B Smith Road, Austin • 512-854-9600. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays.
Regional recycling resources
If you don’t live within Austin, recycling can be more difficult -- each city has its own curbside recycling program (or lack thereof). Here are some regional facilities to help the suburban recycler:
Hill Country Recycling
2000 2nd St, Marble Falls • 830-693-3667
Accepts metals, cardboard, paper, # 1 and # 2 plastic, plastic bags.
Llano Recycling Oppotunities
1209 Bessemer Ave, Llano • 325-247-4504
Accepts metal cans, # 1 and # 2 plastic, paper.
217 Pershing Blvd, Bastrop • 512-303-6665
Accepts paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, # 1 plastic.
EcoDepot and Garden-Ville - Georgetown
250 W.L. Walden Rd, Georgetown • 512-930-8282
Accepts plastics, metals and wood.
Ecology Action - Cedar Park
2665 Whitestone Blvd, Cedar Park
Accepts paper, non-corrugated cardboard, metals, # 1 and # 2 plastics, glass. Thursday - Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Round Rock City Recycling
310 Deepwood Dr, Round Rock • 512-218-7047
Accepts paper, cardboard, # 1 and # 2 plastic, metals, automotive products, batteries.
Williamson County Recycling Center
101 Landfill Rd, Hutto • 512-846-2756
Accepts Oil, scrap metal, aluminum cans, newspaper, cell phones, plastic.
EcoDepot and Garden-Ville - Bee Cave
4001 Ranch Rd 620 S., Bee Cave • 512-263-5265
Accepts plastics, metals and wood.
City of Lockhart Recycling Center
110 N Brazos St, Lockhart • 512-398-6452
Accepts # 1 and # 2 plastics, glass, corrugated cardboard, paper, aluminum cans, oil.
Ecology Action - Bertram
Off Hwy 29 between Burnet and Liberty Hill.
Accepts paper, non-corrugated cardboard, metals,# 1 and # 2
plastics, glass. Open 24/7.
Ecology Action - Manor
7811 Burleson-Manor Road • 512-854-9721
Accepts paper, non-corrugated cardboard, metals, # 1 and # 2 plastics, glass. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.
Green Guy Recycling Services
937 Highway 80, San Marcos • 512-353-3266
Accepts paper, cardboard, cans and metal, glass, appliances.