composter -- small spinning

A spinning composter (Photo: City of Westlake, CA)

Austin wants you to compost, because that will keep a lot of unnecessary, methane-producing yuck out of the landfill.

To get more specific, the “organic” waste — peelings, food scraps, aging leftovers etc — churned out by your kitchen discharges methane as it decomposes. Methane is a potent greenhouse that contributes to climate change; meanwhile, this organic waste goes to waste in landfills, clogging up the system instead of being put to better use as compost that can be spread over gardens and lawns.

For all these reasons, the city’s willing to kick in up to $75 to help cover the cost of your home composting system.

City officials just want to make sure you know what you’re doing first, so there are a couple strings attached to this offer.

1 — You need to commit by downsizing to a 24-gallon or 32-gallon trash cart (maybe after you’ve got the composting system set up). This will help assure you’re serious about reducing your trash by picking out the compostable parts. (Call 512-494-9400 to order the new trash cart.)

2 — Take a free home composting class, either online or in person (current composting class schedule). Here are the online links: Home Composting Online Class (English); Home Composting Online Class (Español). After you take the tutorial, fill out a questionnaire: Home Composting Rebate Challenge Questionnaire (English); Home Composting Rebate Challenge Questionnaire (Español).

So get out there and buy a home composting system, then apply for the city rebate here.