Did you know about this city service that picks up old household items?

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — That clothing you’ve been meaning to get rid of, an old appliance or unwanted household items can all be picked up at your curb using a City of Austin service. The question the city wants to know, though, is if you know about it and if you use it.

It’s called Simple Recycling, and the city’s Austin Resource Recovery partnered with the for-profit company in December 2016. For residents, it’s free to use: they just put the unwanted items in green Simple Recycling bags and place it on the curb on recycling day. It’s an effort to keep it out of the landfill.

People can give their feedback on the service by filling out an online survey or attending one of two open houses:

  • Saturday June 16, 2-4 p.m. at the Little Walnut Creel Branch Library at 835 W. Rundberg Lane
  • Saturday June 30, 2-4 p.m. at the Pleasant Hill Branch Library at 211 E. William Cannon Dr.

Items that can be donated include clothes, accessories, shoes, hats, purses, fabric scraps, stuffed animals, toys, linens, tools, kitchenware and books. Simple Recycling sells the unwanted materials in other markets, and pays the city $20 per ton of material collected. So far, the city has made about $6,700. 

However, ever since the program began, local non-profits like Goodwill have argued the service takes away donations that would have gone to them. Traci Berry with Goodwill Central Texas says donations are down 2.5 percent, about $640,000 in revenue.

“So since Simple Recycling has come into Austin, there has been a decline in donations to Goodwill, therefore a decline in how we’re able to serve the individuals who walk through our doors,” Berry said.

A 2015 study showed ARR curbside customers throw out about 6.6 million pounds of textiles every year. Reducing that amount was ARR’s goal, according to Natalie Betts.

“It was never our intention to divert any material from them,” Betts said. “It was our intention to get textiles and clothing out of the trash.”

People can still drop off donations to Goodwill, the Salvation Army or thrift shops. Goodwill also has pickup options for a fee, and people can also schedule pickups with the Salvation Army.

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