A resourceful new name for Solid Waste Services
By Wells Dunbar,
10:53AM, Tue. Sep. 20, 2011
Austin Resource Recovery – no, it's not some local space-flight initiative or the 13th step in a home-grown self-help paradigm, but the name selected by the city to replace Austin's antiquated Solid Waste Services. But wait, you ask, weren't there some other contenders?
SWS and the City of Austin received national attention this spring after opening up the department name nominating process to the public – with The Fred Durst Society of the Humanities and Arts leading the pack (so named for the Limp Bizkit frontman who's artistic output is of a decidedly debatable nature).
But while Bizkit fans may be let down, the city says Austin Resource Recovery accurately describes the goals of the department, having shifted from simple trash collection to recycling and more.
"The Department has had many names through the years, and historically, the materials collected were treated as waste. 'With the advent of Zero Waste, material collected is now seen as a resource that is recovered for a second life, rather than a waste stream destined for a landfill,'" says SWS, err, ARR director Bob Gedert in a press release. The release also notes “Austin Resource Recovery will continue to provide comprehensive services that encourage recycling and keep as much waste as possible out of local landfills. Curbside services include trash collection, Single Stream Recycling, yard trimmings and periodic bulk and large brush collections. The Department also provides Anti Litter services including street sweeping, dead animal collection, etc.”
Those Zero Waste goals Gedert alludes to aren't an abstract ideal, but laid out in the city's Integrated Solid Waste Management Master Plan, a broad-ranging document that guides the city's waste and recycling goals to 2050 – and one that, as shown by the prolonged (by finally closed) debate over who will recycle the city's “resources” is big business indeed.