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Austin’s Green Revolution: Composting Resources in Multifamily Complexes

Beginning in the fall of 2024, a new modification to Austin’s recycling regulations will compel all multifamily housing buildings to collect residents’ compost.

What took place

The Austin City Council passed an amendment to the Universal Recycling Ordinance on September 21; it will take effect in 2019.

All Austin multifamily housing, including apartments, condos, student housing, and assisted living facilities, will be subject to the new regulation. The decision was made in response to a preliminary city assessment of the idea carried out between March 2021 and February 2022 and after single-family homes began receiving civic composting services.

Mayor Pro Tem Paige Ellis said, “This ordinance comes after a lengthy trial program that covered the course of the pandemic. “As a resident of an apartment building myself, I’m eager for people to be able to take part in the program’s extension to aid prevent

The details

All multifamily buildings with five units or more will have to provide “convenient access” to a commercial composting service to residents and staff starting October 1, 2024. Among the new city regulations are:

give each unit a weekly composting capacity of at least 1 gallon

locating a compost collection station 25 feet or less from trash and recycling bins used for regular landfill waste

requiring homes to collect food waste, dirty paper from meals, and other biodegradable materials

requiring businesses to provide composting information to personnel and tenants, mark all compost containers clearly, and submit an annual composting collection plan

For affected properties that update or expand their services before the new regulations take effect next year, the city provides reimbursements of up to $3,000 in cash. Applications are due for that support.

The big picture

The Universal Recycling Ordinance was created to help the city achieve its zero waste objective of dramatically reducing its garbage production by 2040. More than one-third of the waste produced by multifamily and commercial properties in Austin, which combined account for roughly 85% of the total trash, is compostable, according to a city-sponsored study from 2015.

Richard McHale, director of Austin Resource Recovery, stated that “more than half of Austin residents live in multifamily communities, but the majority do not have access to composting collection services.” To make the most of the planet’s limited resources and to assist Austin in meeting its zero waste goal, it is crucial to keep food scraps and other organic stuff out of landfills.

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