Austin City Limits: Hundreds of volunteers keep Zilker Park litter-free

A massive recycling and clean up operation is underway this weekend at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Festival goers say trash is being picked up left and right.

"There was a lot of people carrying trash bags around, picking it all up. Like even people that weren't in safety vests," said festival goer Dakota Lovell. 

Piles of trash get larger by the hour on the grounds of the ACL Music Festival, green trash bags filling with litter from festival goers. 

"A lot of bottles and the reusable orange cups," Lovell said. "People were picking them up and putting them into the compostable bins."

The Austin Parks Foundation has partnered with ACL for the past 18 years to keep the festival green through reducing, reusing and recycling. 

"Austin is a city that loves its parks, and we want to keep our park clean, and we obviously want to enjoy our time at ACL, but we want to make sure it's sustainable," said Katie Kennedy, the Austin Parks Foundation's director of marketing and communications.

Katie Kennedy says the Rock and Recycle program draws many volunteers every year. 

"We have dozens of volunteers, but I also consider the people who participate in the program volunteers too, so that’s really hundreds," Kennedy said.

Signing up for Rock and Recycle is as simple as grabbing a trash bag. 

"You come up to the table, you grab a bag, and you go around the festival to clean up recyclables," Kennedy said.


Katie says when you bring a full bag back to the table, you get a t-shirt of the day. 

"We work with local artists, and we have a bunch of really cool t-shirts," Kennedy said. "Everyday it is a different shirt, so you can do it every time that you come to the festival." 

"I really did see it being picked up as fast it was being put down," Lovell said. "We came to the last set last night. When we got there, there was quite a bit of trash, but by the time that we were leaving almost all of it had been picked up."

According to the foundation, it is a win-win situation. 

"People are starting to recognize the program now, each year more people can participate, and they know what it is," Kennedy said.

"This is my first time in Austin, first time at this park and everything, so I was really impressed," Lovell said. "I think the park is beautiful, and I think the incentives are working, because I really am seeing it picked up."