Hi Everyone! I want to share a few reminders and tips with you as we go into our third month of interrupted access to all things recycling and trash.
Sign up for the Austin Recycles App or go to My Collection Schedule to sign up for reminders for weekly collection. When Bulk and Brush resume, they’ll be listed here too.
Recycling should be loose. No bags, of any kind or for any reason, go in the recycling carts. The bag pictured here will be pulled off the conveyor at the facility and thrown in the trash. The machines can’t sort it and the workers don’t have time to open and dump it. See February’s “Recycling bags” are prohibited.
The City of Austin recently posted on their Facebook page they would like the recycling lids to lay flat on the carts (trash carts have always required the lid to lay flat or it’s “extra trash” and requires a pre-paid sticker). Flat lids help the carts get hooked up to the trucks faster and is safer for the workers so recycling isn’t falling all over them or the road that they then are presumed to have to pick up. You can always order a free second blue bin by calling 3-1-1 and you can always put extra recycling out in boxes and the box of recycling will be picked up. You can always pile up broken down boxes by your blue carts and those will be picked up too.
You can leave your air filter out next to your 24 gallon (or whatever size) trash cart without penalty. It’s the only big thing I can’t get in a 24 gallon. Sometimes I can squash it in but a lot of times I cannot. They always take it and I have not been fined for extra trash. This was before the City of Austin paused charging for extra trash, during COVID the City is not charging for extra trash when it’s put out.
Bulk and Large Brush semiannual pickups are on hold until further notice. If you can break down your bulk safely where it can fit in your trash cart or standard trash bags, you can try to put it out. It may not get taken if it looks unsafe to handle or is too big.
I was able to break this broken bulletin board down into smaller pieces and put it in a trash bag. It was picked up with the trash.
If your bulk items are technically usable and not broken, consider donating them. In Austin, Hope Family Thrift Store and the Goodwills are open again and taking donations. Donations for Hope Family Thrift Store will only be accepted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10:00a – 5:30p until further notice. Try calling your local Salvation Army or other “pickup” entity to see if they are doing pickups for donations. Most other groups I’ve checked with are only accepting new items.
Last year I broke down a deteriorating bench I agreed to keep for a neighbor who moved away. It took several weeks, but I was able to put a little bit of the broken bench in my regular trash each week. I wrapped it up very well and labeled it “sharp” each week to be as safe as possible. Eventually I got rid of all of it over the course of a month (4 months ahead of the next bulk pickup) and there were no collection issues. You may need to be more patient with putting out pieces instead of the whole thing right now until Bulk pickup resumes. Make friends with your neighbors if you’d like to ask to borrow their trash cart space. It’s illegal to use trash carts without the owner’s permission: it’s theft of service since the cart owner pays for trash removal.
If you have large brush, consider talking to a neighbor and borrowing tools to cut down your brush until it reaches the requirements for the compost carts. You may also consider asking to borrow compost cart space for this. Weekly collection of yard trimmings (brown paper lawn and leaf bags) is still happening if you can get your brush to fit the size requirements for collection.
Don’t forget you can reduce your trash volume by “thinking outside the bag.” Reuse those non-recyclable bags as trash bags! This is an 11 gallon protein bag with a great zippered top. It will be super for trash. We tried a new company and this is the only packaging they use. Plastic tubs or a bucket would have been better and recyclable. I love buckets!
Please consider thanking the crews that do your pickup each week. Their work literally stinks, it’s hot, and they have on a lot of safety gear. They’re pounding the ground 8 hours a day and keeping us safe. Paper, sheets, streamers, chalk, a wave from 6 feet away, it’s all great, they love it! I wrote in permanent marker on my carts (they’ll still need thanked when this is over). Be creative!
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