Don’t flush old toilets
The City of Austin has begun offering free toilet recycling at its Resource Recovery Center, 10108 FM 812 in East Austin. Toilets must be cleaned and the metal and plastic parts removed. Antonio canceled its program after running into difficulty finding buyers for the recycled porcelain.
Austin does not expect to make money from its program. By the water utility’s calculation, offering toilet recycling adds between $2 and $4 to the city’s $71 per-toilet cost of offering low-flow toilets to residents.
Even with the added per-toilet cost to the city, “we’re still within a range that it makes financial sense,” Gross said.
That’s because, in addition to a general water-conservation goal, the city offers lowflow toilets to avoid steep price increases that would occur if Austin uses more water than allowed under a contract with the Lower Colorado River Authority, which provides most of the city’s water.
Critics say that delaying such penalties, and better conserving the area’s resources, will require the city to better coordinate its various environmental programs. To do so, the city is launching steps such as a long-term plan for dealing with trash and recently hired a chief sustainability officer — during a budget crunch — to coordinate environmental efforts.
Gross said the city will make a long-term decision about the toilet recycling program as it crafts a solid-waste master plan.