Go green and save some green, Austin expands home composting rebate program

Zilker Botanical Garden

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A program that offers rebates to people who recycle their food, coffee grinds, wood chips and other items is expanding.  Austin Resource Recovery announced on Tuesday, on Earth Day, that its home composting rebate program will now include people in apartments and condos.

“It’s important to compost because it helps reach our Zero Waste goal, it helps save you money helps, chemical waste, it’s great for water retention so there’s lots of benefits to composting,” said Sylba Everett with Austin Resource Recovery.

The four year old program teaches people how to reuse their food waste instead of letting it go to a landfill.  In the end the the trash becomes a soil-like material which can be used as fertilizer for lawns and gardens.

In the past, people had to exchange their trash bins for smaller ones and the city said on Tuesday that’s no longer a requirement.  All curbside customers are now eligible for a rebate.   The program is also open to people who pay the Clean Community Fee on their utility bills.

  • Take a free home composting class
  • Fill out a rebate application form
  • Buy a home composting system
  • Eligible for a rebate up to $75

The program now offers a $75 coupon up front whenever someone buys a home composting system from specific retailers.  They changed it because they said people complained it took too long to get the money back.

In order to get the rebate up front users have to go through the city’s “Go Local Plan” which is a list of approved retailers.  People can go anywhere, they’ll just have to submit an application and wait about eight weeks.

Everett said the city has a Zero Waste goal which is to lower the amount of trash in landfills by 90 percent by 2040.   The city said half of the garbage collected is organic materials that can be recycled.

Composting is a natural process where the items decompose into dark, soil-like material.  There are many ways to compost, including buying a system which holds the waste for months at a time.

Nature will start to breakdown the nitrogen-rich greens, like scrap foods and leaves.  Micro-organisms, like bacteria and fungi and macro-organisms like earthworms and insects will be part of the process.   It can take about three to eight months.

Everett said the compost adds nutrients to plants growing in people’s lawns and gardens.


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