AUSTIN, TX – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected the City of Austin to receive a $4 million grant to create a reuse warehouse. Austin is among 25 communities chosen to receive funding from the EPA’s Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Program.
The reuse warehouse will accept drop-off donations and redistribute furniture to regional nonprofit organizations with a focus on furnishing homes for those transitioning out of homelessness. The City hopes to open the warehouse no later than 2026. Innovative programming could expand in future years to accept deconstructed building materials and offer workforce training and development opportunities.
Furniture has emerged as a problematic material stream. Bulky items like furniture take up more floor space at resale stores and often sell slowly. This means unwanted furniture that is still usable sometimes ends up in the landfill. Austin needs more infrastructure to adequately process and rehome these materials.
“We are excited that the EPA has selected our initiative for their grant program,” says Richard McHale, Director of Austin Resource Recovery. “The reuse warehouse will connect valuable items, like furniture, to Austinites who can use them. It will also keep these items out of the landfill as we continue to work toward zero waste.”
The reuse warehouse supports Austin’s goal to reach zero waste by 2040. The program aligns with Austin’s Climate Equity Plan by limiting the need for new raw materials, promoting waste reduction and encouraging reuse.
“Let’s keep usable furniture out of landfills and in living rooms. For Austin’s most vulnerable, with the reuse warehouse, we can rehome furniture for those who recently had no home,” said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which I supported, created this program, which will help Austin achieve its waste management goals while also supporting locals in need.”
Congressman Casar, who represents Texas' 35th Congressional District, said, “The furniture dropped off at the Austin reuse warehouse will help furnish homes for Austinites experiencing homelessness who are transitioning into housing. Together, with the support of the federal government, we can drastically reduce homelessness in Austin. Congressman Doggett and I will continue to deliver for our community.”
The EPA will provide the grant money to the City of Austin after all requirements are complete, including approval from the Austin City Council.
About Austin Resource Recovery
Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) is a department of the City of Austin. We provide essential services that protect people and our planet. We collect recycling, composting, trash, large brush, bulk items and dead animals. We also sweep the streets, recycle and safely dispose of household hazardous waste, and provide community outreach and education. ARR is driving the global transformation of traditional waste management to sustainable resource recovery. Learn more at austinrecycles.com.