Recycle It

This is the third post in my series on Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. While addressing the actual clutter, I also give some hints on how to reduce what comes in your house, reuse items within your home and finally where to recycle items in Austin, Texas. I think recycling is really important and luckily we live in a city that believes this as well. Within the City of Austin, the Austin Resource Recovery department has a goal to reach Zero Waste by 2040. This would reduce the amount of trash sent by landfills by 90%.

The City of Austin has an extensive website dedicated to recycling resources. I thought it would be helpful if I provided some of the links and information by category.

Residential Recycling

In the City of Austin we have Single Stream Recycling – which means you can recycle paper, plastic, metal and glass in your blue recycling cart and put at your curb for weekly pick-up. I’m kind of a nut about recycling as much as possible! The more you recycle obviously the less trash you have. Did you know you can request a smaller trash can from the city and then you’ll be charged less on your monthly utility bill?

What can you recycle? Based on the information provided by the City of Austin, I created a helpful info-graphic on what you can put in your blue recycle cart. You can also download it here.

Residential Recycling

There are some guidelines to Plastic Recycling. I often see people recycling plastic bags but this is not allowed. Here are the other guidelines:

  • Remove metal components from plastic items
  • Empty and rinse items before recycling them
  • Only hard plastics are accepted; plastic foam, plastic bags, and plastic wrap are not allowed
  • Make sure all items fit inside the blue recycling cart with the lid closed

One thing I learned when creating this post was that you can actually set out extra recycling next to your recycling cart for no extra charge. Just make sure they are in a cardboard box or reusable container. You can also set out cardboard in a manageable pile (2’ x 2’) next to your cart (especially helpful around the holidays with all of those Amazon boxes!) If you run out of room in your recycling cart between pickups, you can always call and request (512-494-9400) an extra blue cart for free.

Clothing and Housewares Recycling

A big step in de-cluttering is getting rid of unwanted items. Your first stop is most likely going to be donation. You may already have your go-to place for taking items, but if not the City of Austin has a great directory to figure out where to donate or sell your particular item.

However, sometimes something is not even suitable for donation. In the past I’ve had to throw out a few pieces of children’s clothing or shoes that were beyond donation status. I’ve hesitated putting in the trash because it just seems wrong! Well, there is now a solution for this. The City of Austin offers a fairly new program to pick up clothing and housewares for recycling that you do not want to donate. It is offered through a for-profit company called, Simple Recycling. If you are in the city limits you should have received a green plastic bag earlier this year when they rolled out the program, however if you need one you can request it here. You simply fill up the bag with clothing and housewares and place next to your recycling cart on your recycling collection day. Once the bag is picked up, they will leave an empty bag or two. You may be wondering what they do with the items. According to the City of Austin website, “Simple Recycling sells as many items for reuse as possible, first within the state of Texas, then nationally, then internationally. Items that cannot be reused are sold for recycling. Only items that cannot be reused or recycled are disposed of in the landfill.”

This is a great free resource for items that are beyond despair and not suitable for donation!

Recycle & Reuse Drop Off Center

The Recycle & Reuse Drop Off Center is a mostly free resource to City of Austin residents, where you can donate several different types of items that can be recycled or safely discarded. Below is more information on the services offered (most are free but some services have a fee – like discarding tires).

Household Hazardous Waste

Did you know paint eventually expires? I just learned that after I wanted to repaint some rooms in our house with some existing paint that was about 5 years old. In preparing for this post, I was happy to learn that there is place you can drop off old paint and other hazardous waste.

The Recycle & Reuse Drop Off Center accepts most household chemicals including:

  • Cleaning products
  • Automotive fluids and oil filters
  • Paint and thinners
  • Fluorescent light bulbs
  • Batteries (car and household)
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Mercury
  • Aerosol cans
  • Pool chemicals
  • Cooking oil
  • Propane cylinders

Electronics & Appliances

If the item plugs in, the Recycle & Reuse Drop Off Center probably takes it.

Other Recyclables

The Recycle & Reuse Drop Off Center accepts all single-stream recycling as well as plastic bags and film, Styrofoam (NO packing peanuts) and scrap metal.

Click here to view the list of items accepted and not accepted at the Recycle & Reuse Drop Off Center.

Recycle & Reuse Drop Off Center Location
See Map – located just East of I-35 off of Ben White
2514 Business Center Drive, Austin, 78744
Phone: 512-974-4343
Hours: Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday: 7 a.m. to noon

The cool thing about the Recycle & Reuse Drop Off Center is that they have a ReUse Store that has items in usable condition for free. Items can include: Art supplies, Cleaning products, Household chemicals, Automotive fluids.

Other items available at the ReUse store:

  • Austin ReBlend Paint – this is paint that is reblended from the paint dropped off at the center and is free to individuals!
  • Mulch – also free but you must load the mulch yourself (consider bringing: shovel, gloves and containers)

Battery Recycling

The City of Austin maintains a big list of libraries and companies that accept battery donations. Check out the list here for a location near you and then set up a container in your house to collect old batteries.

Unwanted Mail

Are you as sick of junk mail as I am? I think in 10 years we will be appalled that companies were allowed to mail us junk. Of course you’ll want to recycle as much as you can but how about getting off the lists to begin with. The City of Austin recommends Catalog Choice – which is a non-profit that is on a mission to stop junk mail for good!

I didn’t highlight every single service offered by the Austin Resource Recovery department so I highly recommend you check out their website if you need to recycle something and it wasn’t covered above. Most likely there is a place for it! They even have a nifty search tool you can use as a guide to find out what do to do with unwanted to items. Click here to access the What Do I Do With tool.

If any of these tips have helped, please share your success and tag me in the post – @holisticallyorganized

If you need help  getting started — please give me a call so we can discuss how I can help ~ 512.924.1619!

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