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Press Release: Ecology Action to Close Its Downtown Recycling Center

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Press Release: Ecology Action to Close Its Downtown Recycling Center

Alden Larrick

Ecology Action of Texas will discontinue operations at its downtown recycling center, at 707 East 9th Street, on September 30, 2015 and will continue to accept recyclables from the public until that date.

The decision to close the recycling center was made by the Ecology Action Board of Directors under recommendation from Ecology Action Staff. The City of Austin’s notification that it will not renew a contract with Ecology Action to operate the downtown recycling center and increasing costs of renting valuable downtown property have prompted the timeline for the closure.

The center, established in the mid 1990s, is a familiar presence along the southbound frontage road, offering Austin citizens and businesses an option for recycling that is accessible twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The Ecology Action recycling center diverts over 100 tons of recyclable material from area landfills each month.

Ecology Action has played a foundational role in building an eco-aware culture throughout Central Texas, establishing Austin’s first recycling program nearly fifty years ago. Since its founding in 1969, Ecology Action has been and will continue to remain an active and innovative contributor to environmental education, protection, and community building.

In addition to running the downtown recycling center, Ecology Action, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, provides management and expertise on the Austin Materials Marketplace project, along with the  U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development and the City of Austin. This initiative facilitates the exchange of material by-products between businesses and organizations in Austin and Travis County, furthering the City’s goal of 90% landfill waste diversion by 2040. Ecology Action also provides onsite zero waste consultation and recycling services for events and commercial businesses, and is developing an environmental curriculum for educational outreach to a variety of age groups.

Ecology Action is most proud of its efforts to recycle land. Remediating ecologically damaged land is where Ecology Action sees itself making significant future impact. Ecology Action’s current brownfield remediation project, Circle Acres, is a 9.7 acre former landfill in the Montopolis neighborhood in southeast Austin. Ecology Action continues to serve as stewards of this land that is now a healthy wetland, bird and wildlife sanctuary, environmental education facility, public recreational space, and model for building “green” in urban spaces.

The upcoming ending of both the current lease agreement and city contract indicates that now is the logical time for Ecology Action to bring deserved attention to its many other projects and goals.  

Ecology Action supports the City of Austin’s efforts to implement a forward-looking zero waste plan, which includes the implementation of several recycling drop-off facilities throughout the metro area. We encourage Austin citizens to contact their City Council representatives to say that they also support these important initiatives. As the City develops its recycling capabilities, Ecology Action will offer advice and alternatives to area residents for the responsible handling of their recyclables. Throughout the summer, we ask everyone to keep an eye on our downtown location, website, and social media for more details.

We look forward to continuing our ecological work that, even with the closing of the center, shows no sign of slowing down or being less necessary. Thanks to our devoted staff, volunteers, and supporters, we believe that Ecology Action is well-positioned for the next fifty years.