As a co-op grocer, one of our guiding principles, Principle #7, is Concern for Community. For us, it’s important for us to find ways to recycle and divert as much of our reclaimable resources as we can in order to help create a more sustainable store and city. Break it Down, a local recycling operation started in 2009 by Jeff Paine and Melanie MacFarlane, has helped us achieve our goals for many years. They have a 99% recycled rate and accept and sort plastic, glass, cardboard, paper, and inedible food scraps from local businesses, offices, condos and homes.
Reclaimed Resources for BOTH stores:
PLASTIC, GLASS + OTHER: approx 8 tons/month
CARDBOARD: approx. 20 tons/month
“Bales are delivered to a paper mill just outside of Dallas. There the boxes are pulverized and reformed into long spools of cardboard. Those spools are shipped to a plant in California that cuts and prints the recycled cardboard to fill custom box orders. The boxes can then be shipped to businesses all across the country.” - Break it Down
Allen Schroeder from Break it Down picking up recycled cardboard bales.
COMPOST approx. 15 tons per month
Break It Down partners with Organics By Gosh, a composting facility on East MLK. After grinding and curing, the finished compost is bagged and sold at retailers. Just look for the Organics By Gosh name on the bag and know that a tiny bit of your co-op is in there!
Compost drums are emptied, readied for curing. Photo courtesy of Allen Schroeder
FOOD RECOVERY: approx 4,000 lbs. per month
In addition to diverting tons of resources for the waste stream, we also contribute to food recovery efforts. Alan Shroeder, our Food Recovery Coordinator , connects edible fresh foods with people that need it. On a weekly basis, we donate upwards of 1,000 pounds of fresh fruits, veggies, bread, and dairy to local community organizations around the city, including Blackland Community Center and South Austin Community Center. Alan started his food recovery efforts in 2008 and received a grant from Bread for the Journey to help get him started.
Recovered food ready for distribution. Allen Schroeder
- If you are interested in getting your businesses, office, or home into the recycling act contact Break it Down for more information.
- Read more about our storewide recycling efforts!
RSVP for our FREE City of Austin Home Composting Class
Saturday, April 23rd at 10am, 4001 S.Lamar in the Community Room
By taking the class and reducing the size of your garbage can, you are eligible for a $75 REBATE on a home composting system. Each attendee will get a countertop compost bin for attending!