City of Austin Performance Report 2014-15

Average Pounds of Recycled Materials Collected per Customer Account per Week

Measure Description
This measure describes the amount of recyclable materials produced by Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) customers. Recyclable materials consist of paper, aluminum, glass, tin, and various plastics. The measure is indicative of the success of the Single-Stream Recycling Program, whereby all recyclable materials are collected in one cart, and the efforts of ARR to educate customers on the diversion of recyclable materials from the landfill.
Calculation Method
This measure is calculated by converting total tons of recyclables collected to pounds by multiplying total tons by 2,000, then dividing that result by the average number of curbside collection customer accounts to determine average pounds of recyclables collected per customer account per year. The annual amount is then divided by 52, the number of weeks in the year. Although recycling is collected at each household every other week, this measure normalizes collection to a weekly amount in order to show better comparisons the weekly trash and yard trimmings/organics collection measures.
FY 2014-15 Results
The average pounds of recycled materials collected per customer account per week was 11.65 compared to the 11.90 goal for FY 2014-15. It is an increase compared to prior year results of 11.40.
Assessment of Results
The average pounds of recycled material collected curbside increased by 2.2% while the number of recycling customers only increased 1.5%. Part of the increase in recycled materials per account can be attributed to a higher participation rate and increased education of ARR customers. As part of the Single Stream Recycling program, ARR has secured two long-term contracts to process recyclables, and both vendors began providing service October 1, 2012. As part of the contracts, vendors have been increasing the types of materials accepted in the recycling stream from ARR customers. In FY 2013-14, ARR added household rigid plastics to the recycling stream, and in FY 2014-15 aluminum foil and metals were added to the recycling stream. Unfortunately, although recycling has been increasing over the years, Austin Resource Recovery curbside customers are not actively participating in the recycling program to the extent necessary to attain waste stream diversion goal of 75% by 2020.
Picture of recycling truck driving down the road, with a worker riding on the back.
Next Steps
In FY 2015-16, ARR anticipates adding cartons to the recycling stream. As new materials are added to the Single Stream Program, the recycling tonnages collected are expected to increase, recycling pounds per customer are projected to increase and pounds of curbside trash per customer should decrease. ARR will also continue the Recycle Right Campaign and increase education outreach programs which will have a positive effect on our recycling program and tonnages collected. To achieve higher average pounds of recycled materials collected per customer account per week, ARR staff will focus on increasing blue recycling cart setouts through a series of targeted education and outreach campaigns. In FY 2015-16, ARR also will promote a Council District Challenge to create a competitive game to increase recycling participation city wide.
Contact Information
For more information contact Ron Romero, Collections Division Manager, at (512) 974-4353.