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More than zero

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

As part of a plan to reach zero waste in Austin, a City Council-initiated 2015 Community Diversion Study found that more than 80 percent of the materials that currently comprise Austin’s trash could have been recycled or composted. Despite that, Austin Resource Recovery Department Director Bob Gedert remained positive in a statement, saying, “I’m extremely encouraged by the results of this study. … The report has provided us with valuable data that shows us how we are doing and where we need to improve as a community in order to reach Council’s vision of Zero Waste.” Overall, the study found that our community-wide diversion rate is about 42 percent, which is shy of the Zero Waste Initiative goal of 50 percent for this year. According to a press release about the study results, “The study revealed that businesses and apartments generated more than 85 percent of the discards in our community. City-collected materials from single family homes are less than 15 percent of the total trash and recycling generated in Austin. Additionally, about 37 percent of materials sent to area landfills could have been composted.” Those who want a copy of the study for themselves can head over to the city’s website, where they are free for the taking.

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