Currently, it is reported that construction and demolition projects generate at least 20 percent of all materials that go into Austin’s area landfills.
In November, the city council of Austin, Texas, approved an ordinance to increase the reuse and recycling of materials from construction and demolition projects. The Construction and Demolition Recycling Ordinance is set to go into effect in October 2016.
The action came about through recommendations proposed by the Zero Waste Advisory Commission (ZWAC).
As the ordinance was being developed, Austin city staff members received input from people involved with architectural design, engineering, construction, demolition, deconstruction hauling and material processing, as well as from civic groups.
Numerous meetings were held throughout the year, and ordinance drafts were created and revised in August, September, October and November.
Currently, it is reported that construction and demolition projects generate at least 20 percent of all materials that go into Austin's area landfills. Under the new ordinance, construction projects larger than 5,000 sq. ft. (464.5 sq m) will be required to have a 50 percent diversion of materials. In 2019, requirements will also include commercial demolition projects.
“This ordinance takes a huge step toward achieving Austin's Zero Waste goal by requiring more recycling and reuse of valuable materials,” said Bob Gedert, Austin Resource Recovery director.
Gedert reported that the ordinance builds on two decades of construction material reuse and recycling guidelines championed by the Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) program. Because many affordable housing developments are already required to comply with AEGB standards (including 50 percent materials diversion), the ordinance poses a neutral impact on affordable housing. Other new projects could experience an increase of 0.1 to 0.2 percent in total construction costs.
A workshop on deconstruction is planned for Feb. 4, 2016.
For more information, visit www.austintexas.gov/construction-demolition.
About Austin Resource Recovery
Austin Resource Recovery provides a wide range of services designed to transform waste into resources while keeping the community clean. Services include curbside collection of recycling, trash, yard trimmings, and large brush and bulk items; street sweeping; dead animal collection; household hazardous waste disposal and recycling; and outreach and education.
In December 2011, the Austin City Council approved the Austin Resource Recovery Master Plan, which is the city's roadmap to Zero Waste. The city of Austin is committed to reducing the amount of waste sent to area landfills by 90 percent by 2040 or sooner.