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Compost collection at apartments and condos is coming to Austin next year

Large plant leaves sticking out of a compost bin.
Gabriel C. Pérez
The new composting rules will require multifamily property managers and owners to provide a gallon of composting capacity per unit and properly label bins in at least two languages.

Renters, rejoice: If you don't already have composting services at your apartment, you will soon.

The City of Austin will require multifamily properties — including apartments, condos, dorms and assisted living homes — to provide residents with commercial composting collection starting Oct. 1, 2024. This applies to any complex with five or more units, according to an Austin Resource Recovery press release. The properties will have one year from the start date to comply.

“More than half of Austinites live in multifamily communities but most don’t have access to composting collection services,” Richard McHale, director of Austin Resource Recovery, said in the statement. “Keeping food scraps and other organic material out of the landfill is important to make the most out of the planet’s finite resources and to help Austin reach its zero waste goal.”

Austin City Council unanimously approved the new requirement Thursday. Around 2,000 properties in Austin will be affected by the new rules, Paul Bestgen, public information specialist at Austin Resource Recovery, wrote in an email.

This expansion of composting services is the latest step in the city’s mission to cut down the amount of waste Austinites send to landfills by 90% by 2040. It follows Austin Resource Recovery’s 2021 expansion of its curbside composting collection program, which mostly serves single-family homes. In 2021, the city diverted 41.96% of residents’ trash from landfills.

Before developing the new requirement, the city tested out composting collection at eight multifamily complexes for nearly a year. At the end of the pilot, Austin Resource Recovery found that "30% of residents were estimated to have used the provided composting service."

A 2015 study by the city found that 85% of discarded material in Austin came from commercial and multifamily properties, and 37% of the waste was compostable.

The new composting rules will require multifamily property managers and owners to provide a gallon of composting capacity per unit and accept materials like food scraps, food-soiled paper and BPI-certified compostable products. They’ll also have to post signs and labels on composting bins in at least two languages, send out educational guides to tenants and submit a composting plan every year.

Bestgen wrote that properties that don't add composting collection service by Oct. 1, 2025, could be subject to fines.

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Chelsey Zhu is the digital producer at KUT. Got a tip? You can email her at
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