AUSTIN (KXAN) – The City of Austin has an ambitious zero-waste goal to reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills by 90% by 2040. One program helping the City reach that goal is Fix-It Austin, which aims to educate Austinites about the value of repairing and reusing. 

“We’ve just been so immersed in this culture of like, ‘We need to have new [and] we need to have it now,’” Maddie Morgan, a program manager with Austin Resource Recovery said. “We just kind of have fallen into this cycle of buying things and getting rid of them. So repair is an important aspect and can help reduce consumption.” 

The program has quarterly “clinics,” where residents can bring inoperative electronics or holey clothes. At the clinics, several “coaches” with different areas of expertise will work with residents to try and repair their items. Fix-it Austin has an upcoming in-person clinic May 20 and several other virtual classes online. 

The goal of the program is to try to equip residents with new skills so that the next time something breaks or tears, they might keep that item from going into the landfill, Morgan said.  

“It’s a neat community-building opportunity [and] a great opportunity for networking,” Morgan said. “We can’t fix everything — with the things that we’re not able to fix, either the resident can take it home, or we offer to take it over to our drop-off center, and have that recycled there.”

Morgan said it’s important to consider what you are purchasing when trying to reduce future waste.

“Things these days are made to not last, and that actually makes it difficult to repair them, even if you want to,” she said. “Rather than just clicking the button on Amazon or something like that, put a little bit more thought into, ‘Can I source this locally? Is there some way I can rent it? Do I have a friend maybe I could borrow it from?’” Morgan said.

One resource Austinites can use to help them be more eco-friendly is the Austin Reuse Directory, where folks can find out where to donate, resell, buy responsibly and rent in the area.