Don’t flush old toi­lets

Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION -

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.

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