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City stepping back from bulk pickups

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 by Jo Clifton

As cases of Covid-19 continue to spread through the community, it becomes more onerous for many essential workers to do their jobs, including those who provide trash, recycling and compost collection services.

As the twice-yearly curbside collection of bulk items and large brush and trees has proven to be too burdensome this summer, Austin Resource Recovery is suspending its brush and bulk pickup just three weeks after it started. According to a memo from City Manager Spencer Cronk, the extra duties are being suspended because more employees are needed “to assist with essential weekly collections of trash, recycling and compost.”

However, Austinites who received a notification postcard that ARR would pick up large bulk items and brush this week through July 24 can still place those items at the curb and ARR will remove them.

According to ARR spokesperson Memi Cardenas, the department will pick up large brush this month at nearly 26,000 homes, and will pick up bulk household items at 19,565 homes. The brush collection routes are generally in Northwest and Southwest Austin and in Central South Austin. The bulk collection routes are in Central East Austin (both north and south of the river) and in North Central Austin.

ARR asks that customers separate their bulk items 5 feet apart into three different piles: metal, including appliances with all doors removed; passenger car tires without rims (no truck or tractor tires); and wood, including nail-free lumber.

The department will not pick up sheet glass or other construction and remodeling debris, cardboard boxes, hazardous materials, mirrors or automobile parts.

Due to increased concerns about Covid-19, the Recycle and Reuse Drop-off Center has closed. People who have household hazardous waste at their homes can call 512-974-4343 and ARR will schedule a contactless pickup for those items.

Goodwill Central Texas is also partnering with ARR to pick up clothing, shoes, accessories, toys, linens and housewares at customers’ homes. To find out more, visit austintexas.gov/clothing; to schedule a pickup call 512-637-7190. ARR is also picking up extra trash, which must be bagged, without charge. Find more info about bulk collections here.

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