Sustainability Spotlight: City of Austin Circular Economy Program

Sustainability Spotlight: City of Austin Circular Economy Program

 

What is the mission of your company or organization?

The City of Austin Circular Economy Program’s mission is to turn Central Texas into the most vibrant circular economy in the United States. In a circular economy, waste is designed out and products and materials stay in productive use in our community. Through a partnership between Austin Resource Recovery and the Economic Development Department, we attract, retain and grow local businesses and non-profits in the circular economy sector. We also support the everyday habits and skills needed to transition to this circular future.

 

What environmental issues do you address?

Austin has a goal to reach zero waste by 2040, which means keeping 90% of materials out of the landfill. Besides the impact on our landfills, this work also addresses climate change. 45% of carbon emissions reductions needed to reach the UN’s climate change goals must come from how we make and use products and how we produce food. Everyone can take part in this by repairing, reusing, sharing, borrowing, and consuming less. 

And we need businesses and non-profits to provide those services or make those practices possible. We also need companies who are rethinking business models and redesigning products to be easily reused and recycled. That’s why the City of Austin Circular Economy Program works to attract and support business in the circular economy sector. That sector includes recyclers, composters, repair services, thrift stores, rental companies, and other businesses that design out waste. Check out some of the local companies in this sector here.

 

What eco friendly initiatives does your company or organization uphold?

  • We make it easier for people to repair their broken items instead of throwing them out. We organize Fix-It Clinics and online Fix-It at Home workshops to teach repair skills like sewing and bike maintenance.
  • We make it easier to donate goods and consume responsibly. The Austin Reuse Directory helps you find a local spot to donate, shop second hand, or find a repair or rental service. Our MoveOutATX initiative brings together local organizations to establish donation stations for college students during the annual campus ‘move out’ season. In 2019, MoveOutATX kept 92 tons of material out of the landfill (that’s around 42 school buses full of material).
  • We teach people about the circular economy. In a recent event, journalist Adam Minter showed us behind the scenes of the thrift industry. We regularly host events like this to share stories about circular companies and the global movement to reduce waste.
  • We support circular economy businesses and non-profits, with dedicated economic development staff ready to hear about their business needs and connect them to resources and networks to power their growth.  

 

How do you hope to make an impact on the Austin community or world at large?

The Circular Economy Program works to support a prosperous future for Austin–one that doesn’t rely on the extraction of natural resources, and that allows all people to thrive. We believe that a just transition to a circular economy can support all aspects of quality of life, to include the preservation and regeneration our city and planet’s natural resources and habitats, and the health and well-being of our residents.

 

Where can we find out more about your company or organization?

To learn more about the City of Austin Circular Economy Program, visit AustinTexas.gov/CircularEconomy, sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on local circular economy news, upcoming networking opportunities and events, and business resources. You can also follow Austin Resource Recovery on Facebook.

 

 

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2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Center Hours:
Mon-Wed: CLOSED
Thu/Fri: 10AM - 8PM
Sat: 11AM -8PM
Sun: 12PM - 6PM
Curbside Pickup, 10am-4pm, Daily
Tel: (512) 375-3041