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Extra-bag fees return as Austin chucks limitless trash pickup
Bess Maple Holzband, age 5

Austin suspended extra household trash fees in March as at-home residents started making more of it. Jodi Bart Holzand and her family were among those celebrating.

It's time for Austinites to start keeping tabs on their garbage because the heady days of limitless trash pickup are over.

Fees for extra trash come back starting Monday, Sept. 7, nearly six months after the Austin City Council waived them to accommodate residents who were working from home and, therefore, doubling their household waste output.


Restaurants were also, in mid-March, required to serve their food only to-go during the early days of the pandemic shutdown, generating more trash for households as well.

"Due to unprecedented changes brought about by COVID-19 earlier this year, we understood most households would be generating extra trash," said Austin Resource Recovery Director Ken Snipes. "We hope this effort has provided relief for our customers during these uncertain times."

Any bag of trash that doesn't fit in a household's city-issued trash cart will need a $4 excess-garbage sticker, which can be purchased at grocery stores. Otherwise, customers are charged $9.60 plus tax for each additional bag of trash. Extra recycling is free and always has been.

Overflowing residential trash cans, in typical times, brought in $8,000 per week in city fees. In the first month of the shutdowns, residents were producing 11% more trash than in previous months.

The city's recycling center, which closed in March due to COVID-19 concerns, is reopening on an appointment-only basis. Starting on Tuesday, Sept. 8, the Recycle and Reuse Drop-off Center (RRDOC) will resume its acceptance of hard to recycle items such as Styrofoam and plastic film, as well as household hazardous waste.

Austin/Travis County residents are asked to call (512) 974-4343 to schedule a drop-off time.

After a brief collection period earlier this summer, bulk trash collection is temporarily suspended. Click here to look at updated schedules.

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