To figure out what happens to recycled items in Austin, Austin Monitor follows a Coke can as it travels from the blue bin to the recycling center. In Austin, 15 percent of items tossed into blue bins end up in the landfill and the remaining 85 percent ends up sold or resold.
It can take over two weeks for the can to actually make it into a truck to be hauled to the recycling center because recycling is collected every two weeks. Many residents are wondering why trash is collected every week and trash every other week.
Austin Monitor has more on Austin’s recycling process:
“Would you like to have a little Coke?” asks Kathy Bell Hargrave, cracking open a can of soda in her daughter’s kitchen.
Some things we do in life without giving them a second thought, but when we stop to think about them we realize they raise a lot of questions. This is one of those things.
“Every can that I open, every piece of paper, everything, I want to recycle it,” says Bell Hargrave. “I put it all in a giant blue bin, but what happens to it? I don’t know.”
She is not alone in her quest for answers. Judging from listener questions, many people think of recycling as somehow both mundane and mysterious. So, in this edition of ATXplained, we will reply to as many of your questions about recycling in Austin as we can. We will do it by following that 12-ounce can of Coke.
First stop. The blue bin.