Time Warner Cable News Austin
By Stef Manisero
AUSTIN, Texas — Environmental advocates believe they have a solution to help reach the Austin’s goal of zero waste. Curbside composting would add a third bin to a homeowners recycling and trash cans, strictly for organic food waste.
Austin resident Mario Bravo grew up on 25 acres of land in San Antonio, and for him composting was the norm.
“I was really shocked to find out that San Antonio has it citywide and we don’t when everybody thinks of Austin as the trendsetter,” Bravo said.
For the past three years in Austin, 14,000 households have participated in the city’s pilot program for curbside composting. Those families have kept about nine pounds of waste out of landfills, per household, each week.
“That’s 44,000 tons a year of organic materials that wouldn’t be going to the landfills and will instead be going to strengthen our soils, conserve water and protect our climate,” said Andrew Dobbs with the Texas Campaign for the Environment.
Thursday, environmental advocates pushed Austin City Council to implement the policy citywide.
“We can’t keep throwing away everything,” said Dobbs. “We can’t depend upon landfills very much longer, and we’ve got a climate crisis and a soil crisis, and compost solves both of those problems.”
— Cost to Residents: —
They say it’s an obvious solution to the city’s goal of Zero Waste by 2040. Yet homeowners would see an increase of $5 a month, or $60 a year, phased in over time.
“But what’s great is the vast majority of Austin families will be able to downsize their trash and actually save money,” Dobbs said.
Bravo can’t help but think about the larger picture.
“When it goes into landfills it’s going to form a lot of methane which contributes to climate change,” he said.
That he says can all be monitored starting with a simple change in lifestyle.
— What’s Next: —
The city hopes to recycle three-quarters of its waste by 2020. Right now the city is recycling at about 40 percent. City Council will vote on the composting budget in September.
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