Austin Aims To “Untangle ATX” For America Recycles Day

Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) aimed to raise awareness about contamination in Austin’s residential recycling stream and why it is a problem as part of America Recycles Day, which was Nov. 15.

Recent composition studies show a residential recycling contamination rate of almost 20 percent, which means nearly 1/5 of everything in Austin’s blue recycling carts was either trash or not recyclable at the facility.

Among the most troublesome contaminants are “tanglers,” which are items such as plastic bags, garden hoses, textiles, rope and other flexible and/or stretchy materials.

Tanglers pose a threat to recycling facilities by becoming intertwined in the gears of the machinery, stalling operations and causing a safety hazard for employees (who must manually remove these items from the gears).

“By removing tanglers from Austin’s recycling stream, we can reduce contamination, increase productivity at the recycling facilities and help Austin reach its zero waste goal by 2040,” said Austin Resource Recovery Director, Ken Snipes.

Other common contaminants include food, Styrofoam and wood.

ARR aims to “Untangle ATX” and reduce recycling contamination by encouraging Austinites to search the “What Do I Do With…?“ tool at, or like Austin Recycles on Facebook, to learn how to properly dispose of their unwanted items.

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