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Solid Waste

Solid Waste

Waste Generation

  • Until recently, Central Texans appeared to generate more waste per person than state and national averages. However, at least 15 counties and cities outside of Central Texas, including San Antonio and Bexar County, export their waste to landfills in Central Texas.
  • Since 2008, the CAPCOG 10-county region has significantly reduced its waste generation, from over 8 to about 6 pounds per person per day, dropping below the Texas average.

Solid Waste Generation

Improper Disposal

  • The number of violations issued for waste-related issues, such as illegal dumping, steadily increased from 2002 to 2009.
  • A significant reduction in 2010 could signal the beginning of a declining trend, or a change in reporting and enforcement procedure. Municipal solid waste violations returned to prior levels in 2011.

Improper Disposal

City of Austin Recycling

  • The City of Austin’s Recycling Program diverts a significant amount of recyclables and organic waste from landfills (over 90,000 tons in 2011) as recycling and diversion rates have increased steadily (to 38% in 2011).
  • The City of Austin implemented single-stream recycling in October 2008, which allowed customers to recycle more items without sorting. This improvement is reflected in the substantial increase in curbside recycling beginning in 2009.

City of Austin Recycling

Electronics Waste Recycling

  • While no trend data is yet available for the Central Texas region, estimates at the national level show e-waste recycling increasing.
  • Note: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 report altered its methodology in estimating electronics recycling.

Electronic Waste Recycling

CURRENT STATE

Diversion from landfill and resource recovery is increasing steadily.

IDEAL STATE

Solid waste in Central Texas is managed so that it does not contribute to pollution.

CONTEXT

New large recycling facilities have improved the economies of waste diversion.

The expansion of recycling and resource recovery to more materials should hopefully reduce persistent problems like illegal dumping and the burning of trash.

Recycling and composting have caught on with the general public, giving administrators more leverage to expand recycling programs.

ADDITIONAL MEASURES

Landfill Volume

Years of Landfill Life Remaining

CAPCOG Mapping Tool for Recycling and Waste Facilities

SOURCES

Regional and State of Texas disposal estimates cannot be disaggregated to determine specifically where solid waste originates below the county level.

Texas Commission on Env. Quality

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

City of Austin Resource Recovery