Austin waste-reduction program redistributes used furniture, building materials

April 24, 2024

Americans produce approximately 292.4 million tons of solid waste every day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To help reduce the amount of trash in its landfills, the city of Austin will build a warehouse that will allow the city to store and redistribute used furniture and building materials.

The structure will help Austin avoid relying on landfills and improve recycling systems. The city received $4 million from the EPA’s Solid Waste Infrastructure Grant (SWIFR) program to support the project.

“By redistributing used furniture and building supplies, Austin’s new reuse warehouse will help reduce waste, assist those transitioning out of homelessness, create a circular economy and build a more resilient community,” said Cliff Villa, deputy assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management.

Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) will use the warehouse to accept and redistribute used furniture at no cost to nonprofits and their clients. The agency will focus on furnishing the homes of those transitioning out of homelessness. The warehouse will eventually expand to accept building materials.

A dedicated Innovation Lab will also provide space and infrastructure for programming and a workforce program where people with barriers to employment will learn how to upcycle outdated furniture.

The SWIFR program helps implement the National Recycling Strategy, an initiative designed to advance and improve the national and domestic solid waste recycling systems. SWIFR aims to improve post-consumer material management and infrastructure, support local materials management and recycling programs and help local waste management authorities improve waste management systems.

The EPA awarded over $105 million in SWIFR grants to states and communities in 2023. The EPA has announced $56.2 million in funding so far in 2024. Other communities receiving grants include Baltimore, which plans to build a solar-powered composting facility, and Minneapolis, which is redeveloping an old city waste disposal facility into a self-hauling waste site.

Photo by Ropable

Adam Rollins

Adam Rollins brings his expertise as a Researcher and Writer to the Managing Editor role for several of SPI's key publications, including Government Contracting Pipeline, Texas Government Insider, and the latest addition, Government Market News. With a rich background as a freelance Content Specialist, Adam has honed a passion for learning and information gathering, delving into various industries. His research and writing have spanned a range of topics, from artificial intelligence (AI) technology, conservation, and project outsourcing, to managed IT services and software development.

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