Texas ban on throwing away food received with praise, outrage

A Texas city has banned restaurants from throwing away food and its receiving mixed reviews online.

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Austin announced the new city ordinance Monday, requiring restaurants and food-permitted businesses to find alternative methods to discarding organic material other than throwing it away.

“The [Universal Recycling Ordinance] URO requires convenient access for employees to divert discarded organic material, such as food scraps or soiled paper products, from landfills. Options include donating extra food to feed people (preferred), sending food scraps to local animal farms or ranches, developing customized solutions and composting, either on-site or with a private organic collection provider,” the ordinance read.

In addition to requiring restaurants to dispose of food through recycling or donation, the establishments must also provide education for employees about organic diversion.

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"The City is committed to helping companies, large and small, find cost-effective solutions and establish diversion programs to ensure food and other organics are put to best use while meeting ordinance requirements,” said Sam Angoori, Interim Director, Austin Resource Recovery.

According to the 2015 Diversion Study cited in the press release, more than 85 percent of Austin’s trash and recycling comes from commercial businesses, multifamily properties and food service establishments.

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Of the materials sent to landfills, 37 percent is organic and could have been donated or composted.

The progressive ordinance, which went into effect Oct. 1, sparked mixed reviews from people in Austin and other cities in Texas.

However, some felt it was an example of the government overreaching.

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The city of Austin announced they will be holding free recycling and organics diversion training events for those affected by the new rule.