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City expands recycling service to include clothing and home items

New curbside service starts in December

Austin Resource Recovery announced Thursday that its customers will soon be able to place clothing, toys, and household items curbside for recycling pickup.

The agency will partner with the Simple Recycling company to provide the service, which will occur on customers' regular recycling day and week beginning Dec. 5. According to the announcement, "many types of clothing and housewares can be recycled, including shoes, accessories, fabrics scraps, stuffed toys, linens, tools, toys, hats, purses, kitchenware and books."

The change was prompted in part of a 2014 waste characterization study found that ARR curbside customers send approximately 3,322 tons of textiles to Austin landfills each year. "This new service is a step in the right direction to help us get on track to meet our benchmarks for Zero Waste," said Bob Gedert, Austin Resource Recovery Director. "The most recent figures show our diversion rate is about 42 percent, so if we hope to meet our next benchmark—keeping 75 percent of waste out of landfills by 2020—we are asking all customers to use this program to ensure these materials are not going to the landfill."

Customers will place items in green bags provided by Simple Recycling and leave them on the curb next to their blue recycling carts on their recycling collection days. When Simple Recycling collects a bag, they will leave a new bag in its place for the resident. The plastic bags will be recycled after the items are collected.

Simple Recycling will pay the city $20 per ton of material collected and will keep the remaining profits from the sale of the collected items. It will sell as many items for reuse as possible, first within the state of Texas, then nationally, then internationally. Items that cannot be reused will be sold for recycling.

Austinites who don't receive curbside services from Austin Resource Recovery, such as those who live in apartments, will be able to still participate by dropping off clothing and housewares at the City's Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center at 2514 Business Center Drive.