Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas


What Is Ecology Action of Texas?


Ecology Action of Texas is a non-profit organization that runs a series of recycling centers in Central Texas. It began as an all-volunteer organization in 1970.  Now Ecology Action is a worker-run cooperative with a horizontal structure of management. Employees have equal pay and shared workloads. The workers are unionized.

Ecology Action operates one main recycling center in downtown Austin on the corner of 9th Street and I-35 as well as two satellite centers in the city. There are also centers in Bertram and Pflugerville.

In 2010, Ecology Action had to close two of its centers after the failing economy forced the value of recyclables to drop significantly. Money collected from recycled materials accounts for roughly one third of the organization’s budget.

The centers vary slightly in what they accept. All centers accept the following:

  • Newspaper
  • Paper and pressed cardboard (e.g., cereal boxes and egg cartons)
  • Aluminum cans, foil, and pie plates
  • Tin cans and all scrap metal (as long as it fits inside a barrel)
  • #1 and #2 plastics (no plastic bags)
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Telephone books, hard & soft cover books

Centers do not accept Styrofoam, light bulbs, electronics or motor oil containers. Some take corrugated cardboard.

There is a special center in Pflugerville for city residents only. That center accepts motor oil, appliances, vehicle batteries, tree limbs, air conditioning units and scrap metal. It does not accept plastics.

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