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Austin’s Zero Waste Goal Largely Depends on Business Participation

With residential waste accounting for less than 15 percent of Austin’s waste total, the city is greatly depending on business participation to meet its goal of becoming a zero waste city by 2040.

In an effort to get more businesses on board, the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council is holding a conference in Austin this week to provide strategies on how businesses around the world can help cities like Austin reach their zero waste goals.

KUT News has more information on Austin’s zero waste efforts:

Austin has a goal to become a so-called “zero waste” city by 2040. That means only 10 percent of the city’s garbage can end up in a landfill. A conference in town this week aims at helping the city meet that goal.

Austin homeowners throw their recycling in big blue bins, it gets picked up by the city and sorted out at recycling centers. But that residential waste accounts for under 15 percent of all the stuff thrown out in Austin. According to a recent city-commissioned study, most of the rest comes from businesses. That doesn’t surprise Stephanie Barger. She said that businesses create 60 to 70 percent of overall waste nationwide.

Barger is executive director of the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, which is holding a conference in Austin this week to highlight how businesses can help cities meet zero-waste goals. For one thing, she said, private enterprise can generally move faster than government. One of the tricks to getting companies on board is to convince them they can make money reselling their waste, and that means no blue bins for business.

Read the full story here.

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