Plus, the coziest winter towns in Texas — and America.
 
November 10, 2023 6AM-Top banner logo-small.png

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Today’s Forecast

69º | Rainy | 87% chance of rain | Sunrise 7:28 a.m. | Sunset 5:42 p.m.

 
🗑️ Less is more
truck on street with recycling carts
Austin Resource Recovery hopes to help Austinites divert more recyclable and reusable materials from the landfill. | Photo via Austin Recycles, City of Austin service
2.4 million tons. That’s how much waste was produced in Austin in 2020 — about 2.4 tons per capita.

In an effort to mitigate that number, Austin City Council adopted the 2023 Austin Resource Recovery Comprehensive Plan last week, an update to its 2011 Zero Waste goal. Let’s break it down.

What does zero waste mean?

“Zero waste” doesn’t mean producing no trash whatsoever. Rather, it means city systems have infrastructure so that everything eligible for recycling, composting, reuse, repair, or donation can find its place — aka, not in a landfill.

Currently, about 40% of Austin’s waste is diverted from a landfill, but the city aims to bring that number up to 90% by 2040.

What’s stopping us?

Austin Resource Recovery identified three main challenges in reaching this goal, including a rapidly growing population and abnormal weather episodes, like recent winter storms.

Then, there’s the kicker: ARR is responsible for collecting ~15% of the city’s total waste, with the rest collected by private companies. This creates several difficulties, including in measuring progress.
ATX_WasteDiversionRates

Some cities, like Los Angeles, have been working toward zero waste goals for much longer than Austin.

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Graphic by ATXtoday, data via the 2023 Austin Resource Recovery Comprehensive Plan

So, what’s the plan?

We’re glad you asked. ARR’s 107-page plan outlines dozens of short-term and long-term goals, including:
  • Building out infrastructure in areas of need
  • Garnering regional support and building partnerships with nearby cities
  • Streamlining enforcement of existing rules and regulations
  • Exploring new efforts, like applying fees for contamination or composting at events

How far have we come?

Austin’s recycling levels are now 36% higher than the national average.

The agency’s data also shows that Austinites are producing less waste. In 1994, on average Austinites produced 5.6 pounds of waste per day. By 2010, that number fell to 4.2 pounds, and in 2022, it was 4 pounds even.

Want to learn more about Austin’s sustainability efforts? Check out the Austin Climate Equity Plan and don’t forget to brush up on what you can and can’t recycle or compost.
 
Asked
 
Do you recycle?

A. Yes
B. No
 
Events
 
Friday, Nov. 10
  • Electrify Expo | Now-Sunday, Nov. 12 | Times vary | Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd., Austin | $15-$350 | Explore all things electric vehicle at this event featuring demos, talks, and showcases — Friday is Industry Day, but Saturday + Sunday will be open for public access.
Saturday, Nov. 11
  • Texas Book Festival | Saturday, Nov. 11-Sunday, Nov. 12 | Times vary | Congress Avenue, Austin | Free | Spend your weekend hearing from authors, perusing pop-ups, and adding to your TBR list at this free literary event.
  • 11th Annual ConnectHER Film Festival | Saturday, Nov. 11 | 2-9 p.m. | St. Andrew’s Dell Fine Arts Center, 5901 Southwest Pkwy., Austin | $20-$115 | This event celebrates young filmmakers and the intersection between film and social impact.
Sunday, Nov. 12
  • Esta Con Madre Taco Fest | Sunday, Nov. 12 | 3-9 p.m. | Hi Sign Brewing, 730 Shady Lane, Austin | $75 | Dig into tacos from some of Austin’s best taco chefs — including Nixta Taqueria and Cuantos Tacos — and taste fresh cocktails, listen to live music, and enjoy a comedy show.
  • Brené Brown, Gina Chavez, and Carrie Rodriguez | Sunday, Nov. 12 | 7 p.m. | The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Dr., Austin | $15-$300 | The trio will put on an evening of storytelling and song to benefit the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.
  • Wynonna Judd | Sunday, Nov. 12 | 7:30 p.m. | ACL Live, 310 W. Willie Nelson Blvd., Austin | $60-$300 | The Kentucky-born country artist will perform her hits from decades past.
Click here to have your event featured.
 
 
News Notes
 
Holiday
  • Tomorrow is Veterans Day, a federal holiday commemorating people who have served in the United States Armed Forces. In observance, various city offices will be closed today — help honor our military personnel at the Austin Veterans Day Parade tomorrow at 9 a.m.
Biz
  • Austin Eastciders will be acquired by Michigan-based Blake’s Hard Cider, the business announced on Facebook. The 10-year-old local brand will join Oregon’s Avid Hard Cider Co. in a new partnership under the name Blake’s Beverage Co.
State
  • Construction on Texas’ new $370 million Emergency Operations Center — which will house the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s new headquarters — begins in East Austin this month. The site is expected to be completed in 2026. (Austin American-Statesman)
List
  • Marble Falls and Fredericksburg were the only two Texas towns to make the New York Travel Guides’ list of the 110 Coziest Winter Towns in the America, at Nos. 40 and 96, respectively. Marble Falls scored highest for its popularity, while Fredericksburg excelled for its cozy activities.
Now Open
  • Fat Dragon Sushi Bar, a new location from Japanese restaurant Fat Dragon, is now open at 8650 Springwood Springs Rd. The menu offers sushi, bento boxes, and ramen. (Eater Austin)
Ranked
  • Austin is the No. 7 best US city for international business, according to a new list by Financial Times and Nikkei. Bat City scored highly for its ample workforce and talent, aftercare, and investment trends.
Real Estate
  • Like an $800 Millennium Falcon Lego set, this rare $3.3 million modular home in West Central Austin was built in pieces and assembled later. Take a look at the five-bedroom property, which features digitized windows and a sunken pool. (CultureMap Austin)
Drink
  • Your new first drink of the night: ZBiotics, a probiotic engineered by PhD microbiologists to break down the byproduct of alcohol. Try it to wake up feeling refreshed tomorrow.*
 
 
Real Estate
 
Breaking down housing disparity
The Austin skyline, as seen from Lady Bird Lake
Depending on the count, there are an estimated 2,500-13,000 Austinites experiencing homelessness. | Photo by ATXtoday
Housing shortages affect certain Austinites more than others, according to a new report from the Austin Board of Realtors.

The report, which was released yesterday, found that undersupply of housing is more significant in certain City Council districts and among non-white residents. Here are three takeaways from the research, which analyzed affordability for four-person households:
  • All minority groups face more of a shortage in housing compared to white households in Austin. Black/African American households face the sharpest shortage, followed closely by Hispanic/Latino households.
  • City Council District 4 — which stretches from 51st Street to West Braker Lane along I-35 — has the greatest proportional need for new housing.
  • City Council District 10 — which encompasses much of West Austin, north of the lake — has the lowest proportional need for new housing.
Read the full report, including ABOR’s six recommendations for local policymakers to improve affordability, online here.
 
The Buy
 
An instant read meat thermometer. Because Thanksgiving is only 13 days away, and if you’re planning to serve turkey, it’s nice to serve it cooked.
 
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The Wrap
 
London Gibson Today’s edition by:
London
From the editor
I love that Marble Falls made the list of coziest winter towns in America. In case you didn’t know, I grew up in Marble Falls and I can confirm that it’s extremely cozy during the holiday season.

I suggest checking out the Walkway of Lights, which is in walking distance to some great holiday shopping on our historic Main Street.
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