Austin restaurants can no longer throw away food

Composting bin

City of Austin composting bin. (KXAN File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Starting Monday, Austin restaurants and food businesses have to come up with alternatives to tossing extra food in the trash.

The city hopes businesses donate the extra food to those in need, but they could also give it to local farms or compost it. It’s part of the Universal Recycling Ordinance, which the city hopes will help reach its Zero Waste by 2040 goal.

A 2015 study analyzing what’s in Austin’s trash and where it comes from showed 37 percent of material sent to landfills from businesses was organic and could have been donated or composted.

That study was used to inform the ordinance and other steps the city has taken, including opening up individual composting options

The ordinance also requires business owners to educate employees regularly, have informational signs about the effort and submit an online Organic Diversion Plan each year. The city is offering guidance and training for businesses as they transition, including two events listed below:

  • Oct. 22 from 2-3 p.m.
    • County Line on the Lake
    • 5204 FM 2222
  • Oct. 30 from 9:30-10:30 a.m.
    • Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar
    • 1120 S. Lamar Blvd.

“The City is committed to helping companies, large and small, find cost-effective solutions and establish diversion programs to ensure food and other organics are put to best use while meeting ordinance requirements,” said Sam Angoori, the interim director of Austin Resource Recovery.

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