I talk about the Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center a lot (RRDC if you see the abbreviation). It’s where you can drop off recyclables and HHW in Austin if you live in an apartment that doesn’t take much, and for those items that can be recycled in Austin, but not in the blue curbside collection carts due to size or lack of compatibility with the sorting machines.
I wanted to share a trip with you in case you have never been or maybe you are intimidated about going your first time. So lets go!
Right now you must make an appointment to drop-off materials. Austin/Travis County residents can schedule a drop-off time through the Austin Recycles mobile app or online. If online access is difficult for you call 3-1-1 and they’ll direct you to the appropriate number.
I strongly recommend you have everything pre-sorted to help you go through faster and make it easier on yourself and the staff. Paper grocery bags (double bagged if you need to) and shipping boxes are great for this.
You’ll pull up at 2514 Business Center Drive, Austin, TX 78744. They’ll ask your name and appointment time. They’ll also ask if you’ve ever been before and if you haven’t, they’ll explain how to follow the lines and where your items’ stations are.
Then you’ll just park and unload at each station. You do have to make two pass throughs if you have household hazardous waste also known as HHW. Because of the layout for safety reasons, HHW is a separate area. You’ll just need to do HHW or everything else, and then drive through again. I always say “Second round” at the gate and they wave you right through for the second part. There’s usually a line at HHW so I do everything else first and then HHW second. Just drive slowly into the Center and look to your right to see which is the better choice to start with based on lines.
This is the car waiting to get into the HHW area. They’re very safe here which is especially important as this station collects all the chemicals, paint, batteries and light bulbs.
At HHW they will roll a cart up to your car and you will get out to either hand them your items or direct them what to pull out of your vehicle. I usually only have a bag or box so I hand it over to them on the cart.
So HHW is the first option to the right. Next up on your left is the Hard Plastics station. This is great for broken non-electronic toys, outdoor furniture, super small bits of plastic, equipment and utensils that are mostly plastics.
After Hard Plastics, also on the left, is the ReUse Store and ReBlend Paint. Both aren’t available right now with COVID, but check the website for updates. ReUse Store is a little whitish-gray shed that holds free art supplies, cleaning products, household chemicals, and automotive fluids still in good condition that were turned in at HHW. More information ReBlend Paint is here.
Then we come to the most popular stations: Styrofoam, Cardboard, Plastic Bags.
Styrofoam does get sorted hard from soft so look into the boxes to figure out what goes where. Don’t forget food styrofoam is welcome, it just needs to be rinsed and dry. Cardboard should be flattened. I just leave my big garbage bags of bags and film inside the plastic bag staging area since it’s already bagged up in an giant bag. Why put a bag of bags in another bag?
Across the way to your right is the textiles/clothing recycling station. This is a partnership with Goodwill so you can always drop off unwearable and unusable fabric, cloths, textiles, stuffed animals, etc. with them. Please donate first what is still wearable to local charities.
Straightening out and moving along on your left you will find behind the pillar the Scrap Metal station. Non-food related metals and combination pieces that are mostly metal like shears, scissors, plumbing, etc. can be dropped here for sorting.
Next along your left will be the free mulch area.
After mulch, continue driving along and on your right, almost leaving the RRDC, will be a long ramp up to the Electronics station. This is the city’s old MRF which now collects electronics and tires. Pull up and they’ll bring you a cart to put your items on.
So much stuff can be dropped off and recycled at the Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center. Check the list for what is acceptable. Some quick surprises you should remember:
– If it is electronic, has a cord, battery or circuit board take it to Electronics
– If it’s mostly hard plastics take it to Hard Plastics
– If it’s mostly metal take it to Scrap Metal
– Take all your unused old chemicals, batteries and lightbulbs to HHW
I have posts on various examples and stations so search around or plug in keywords or the item you are deciding what to do with.
I’m happy to respond to your item inquiry! It could make a great post! Contact me in anyway and let’s learn together!
More information on recycling is below.
City of Austin Residential Recycling / Styrofoam / Apartment Dwellers Guide
City of New Braunfels Residential Recycling / Styrofoam
City of Round Rock Residential Recycling / Recycling Center
City of San Marcos Residential Recycling / Apartment Dweller Quick Facts
Apartments should check with their provider/contractor or that provider/contractor(s) website(s) for instructions/restrictions.