Monday, March 13, 2017

March recycling tips for Scofield Ridge neighbors

Happy spring everyone! I saw this cute recycling set up from New Zealand, and thought I would share it with you to get you thinking about everything that leaves your house as "waste". Often we focus only on recycling plastic, glass, cans and paper. But with Austin's Zero Waste goal, there is a lot more we can do to keep our "rubbish" to a minimum and our landfill from filling up! Here are some other ideas:

  • Take clothes and other small household items (that are not electronic) to your favorite charity OR put them into a Simple Recycling green bag and put them on the curb with your recycling bin this week. If you need a green bag or two, please reply to this email and let me know where to drop it off! No fabric or toy or knick-knack should have to end up in the landfill! Give it a second life!
  • Start composting your plant-based food scraps (coffee grounds and egg shells are also compostable!). Austin Resource Recovery offers free composting classes (see "upcoming events" on the right hand side of the page), and will give you a rebate on a composting system if you take one.
  • E-cycle your old cell phones, computers, TVs and other electronic items at UT's annual E-Cycling Drive next Friday and Saturday. Click here to get all the details on what will be accepted, and where to take it. And make sure to give a friendly smile to the student volunteers while you're there!
  • Save up styrofoam take-out containers for delivery to the Recycle and Reuse Drop-off Center in S. Austin. If there is sufficient interest, I would be willing to collect and deliver items to the drop-off center twice per year. Please email me if you have items you are collecting!

Update on the Simple Recycling green bag system

As many of you may know, the Austin City Council recently heard a request from a few charities to suspend the city's two year contract with the family-owned Simple Recycling because they believe the curbside program has reduced the number of donations they have received. While it is true that Simple Recycling and charities such as Goodwill and others accept many of the same types of items, the goal if the Simple Recycling program is not to compete with these charities. It is simply to keep these reusable and recyclable items from ending up in the landfill.

If you like to give your items to charity, PLEASE continue to do so, and encourage others to do the same. If you are more likely to throw an item away than to drive it to your charity of choice, then PLEASE put it into a green bag and leave it on your curb on your recycling day instead. 

Currently the city council is studying the actual impact of Simple Recycling on charity donations for six months. If they choose to suspend the program, no other curbside collection program can be put in place until the two years of Simple Recycling's contract have expired. 

I'll keep you posted on the results. In the meantime, please keep your trash can as empty as possible, and let me know how I can help you do that!

- Casey Arendt
Your Scofield Ridge Zero Waste Block Leader on Kinder Pass

Monday, December 12, 2016

Simple Recycling brings household goods recycling to your curb

Used clothing, knick knacks, dishes, towels, tablecloths -- if you never get around to taking these kinds of items to Goodwill or another non-profit, don't throw them away! The new GREEN BAG project from Austin Resource Recovery means that you can just put them in your green bag on your curb with your recycling bin on your normal recycling day, and they will be reclaimed by Simple Recycling, an Ohio-based company that is partnering with cities around the US, to resell your cast-off goodies in the US or abroad, or turn them into sound deadening material etc.

Here's a quick run-down of the program. Please send additional questions to csarendt @ yahoo . com!

Where can I get a green bag?
You should have received two bags and a green sticker in the mail in a mailing about the program shortly after Thanksgiving.

If you didn't receive the mailer, you can contact Simple Recycling for bags and a sticker on their website or by phone at 866-835-5068. I also have a roll of green bags - email me, and I'll deliver some to you.

What can I put in the green bag?
Anything made of fabric, all kinds of toys, dishes/knick knacks, etc. Fabric should be clean and dry, but it can be in poor repair (holes, etc). The items accepted are listed on the front of the green bag itself. Consider stashing a green bag in your closet to remind you to put in items of clothing or shoes that you no longer use!

Things with a cord (dead toasters, working TVs, etc) should not go in the green bag. They are better delivered to the Recycling and Reuse Drop-off Center.

Some items I put in my green bag last Wednesday for pick-up at the curb.
What is the sticker for?
If you have items that you don't want to put in the green bag, you can put them in a box and put the sticker on it so that the Simple Recycling van driver knows to pick it up

Where should I put the green bag on my recycling day?
Put it about 5 feet away from your trash bin and your recycling bin in a spot that will be easy for the van driver to spot as he drives through the neighborhood looking for green bags.

If I put a green bag outside, where will I get a new one?
When you put out a bag, the van driver will leave you a new one (or two) on the handle of your recycling bin, so make sure to leave your blue bin outside until your green bag has been picked up! Currently stickers are not replaced in this way. I'm working on getting a stash of them. You can also request more by contacting Simple Recycling.

What happens to my stuff after it gets picked up?
Since this is a new program to Austin, items collected here are currently trucked to Houston for sorting. Eventually Simple Recycling plans to open a local sorting facility. As many of the items as possible are sold to markets within the US, and the rest is resold overseas. Around 5% of what is collected may end up in a landfill, but 95% is likely to be reclaimed for use (vs. 0% if you just threw it in the trash!).

Learn more from Austin Resource Recovery's website on the service here


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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hi! I'm your friendly neighborhood Zero Waste Block Leader!

Hi, I'm Casey, and I'm a recycling junkie.

I recycle everything. I wash ziploc bags and reuse them. I have a compost bin in my backyard. I have solar panels. I've been known to collect rainwater in buckets to water my basil and tomatoes.  

There are weirder folks in this weird town of ours, but I know I'm a bit on the weird side. You're probably not as weird as I am (or maybe you're weirder!), and I don't expect you to be. But maybe you've got questions about the blue bin. You've got questions about the green bag program that you just got a postcard about. You might wonder when the next "big brush" collection is. You might have heard about the composting program that's slowly rolling out around town. Or you might just wonder how you can keep your trash can from overflowing at Christmas time and costing you extra on your COA bill. 

If you've got questions about recycling or anything that Austin Resource Recovery does, I'm here to answer them or find somebody who can.

Get these tips in your email box about once a month by signing up here: