Have thoughts on how Austin can become a more sustainable community?  Share them here!


It always suprises me how few people use the smaller (and cheaper) trash bins.  Realistically, with a family of three we don't even come close to filling up the small bin so the large bin would be way overkill, and I believe many families would find the same to be the case.

I think many residents don't know that they can switch to a smaller bin and save and the city could do a better job promoting the benefits of the smaller bins to the customer.  We could prominently encourage switching via an email campaign as well as on the paper and e-statements.

A smaller bin also encourages people to waste less, recylce more, and be more conscious of how much trash we put in landfills, which ultimately costs the city and it's citizens money and valuable natural resources.

Unless you think the attached picture of a nice landfill should replace Zilker park...

15 Votes Planned
Coaaustin Resource Recovery admin about 6 years ago

We are glad to hear that your family of three is using the smallest, 32 gallon trash cart!

The City of Austin has a Zero Waste goal to reduce the amount of waste Austinites send to the landfill by 90 percent by the year 2040.  In order to reach that goal, the City encourages citizens to rethink what they are throwing into the trash and encourage recycling, composting and reconsidering the types of items they consume.

Currently, the City has an education and outreach program to share information with citizens through various outlets: schools, environmental fairs, churches, neighborhood associations, businesses and more.  The program includes information about basic services, including the options and costs for the three trash carts.  We emphasize cost savings, because as you noted, it’s a great benefit of reducing cart size.  In addition, the City recently produced a reality TV show called Dare to Go Zero, where four Austin families were challenged to reduce their household trash to zero!  Two of the four families reduced to less than a pound of trash per week and all of the families reduced their cart size to the smallest, 32 gallon trash cart.

Also, the most recent Austin Energy PowerPlus newsletter (included with City of Austin customer’s utility bills) announced the launch of a new billing system coming this October.  As part of the new billing system, there will be more opportunities to educate customers about the options and benefits of downsizing cart sizes.

Finally, Austin Resource Recovery (formerly Solid Waste Services) has a Block Leader program to recruit Austin citizens willing to volunteer their time to help spread the word to their neighborhoods about the various initiatives related to recycling and zero waste.  These volunteers receive training and regular communication through newsletters to share with their neighbors.  In addition, they often receive doorhangers to make it easier to distribute information on their block.  We’d love to have you sign up!  For more information, email us at block.leader@austinrecycles.com.

Thank you for your suggestions.

- Austin Resource Recovery (formerly Solid Waste Services)

Sheila Dhir Hughes almost 6 years ago

Our family of 4 is using the small bin and is fine most weeks. However, we have a large recycle bin and struggle not to overfill it. I wish recycle was picked up weekly as well. Perhaps pick up trash bi-weekly and recycle weekly? We could use a medium or large bin and get away with trash pickup biweekly. 

Wyatt Roberts 2 months ago

It's true that this would drastically reduce the amount of waste. People would be more conscious of how much waste they produce if they were forced to use the smaller trash bins.

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Jack Brown about 1 month ago

I completely agree with this article. I switched to small bins and have seen my general waste reduce by 10%

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Allan Steele about 1 month ago

I am going to give this a shot and switch to smaller bins for both of my businesses. Pest Control Newcastle Upon Tyne , Durham Plumbing and my Spiral Staircase company

Tom Brown about 1 month ago

It's a small but effecitve way to help make your environement are more eco-friendly place. Taxi in Durham