Over 2,000 bags handed out as part of Violet Bag trash program

According to the city of Austin, over 2,000 Violet Bags were distributed to Austin's homeless as part of a pilot program to help keep Austin clean.

The Violet Bag program provides 12-16 gallon bags and drop-off sites close to homeless encampments with a high volume of trash-related complaints.

Austin Resource Recovery provides weekly pick-up at designated drop-off sites that included informational signs explaining items approved for collection.

The program began in July with the first seven-week phase being tested in four areas in North, Northeast, Central and South Austin:   

  • Ohlen Road and Highway 183
  • Cameron Road and Highway 183
  • Cesar Chavez and Interstate 35
  • Packsaddle Pass and Highway 71

An additional site was added at Pleasant Valley Rd. and Cesar Chavez St. in East Austin for the second phase of the pilot, which will continue through the end of October.

The second phase will help participants understand trash collection requirements at a wider variety of sites and inform recommendations for future expansions, says the city. The second phase is also testing larger trash bags and collecting them with semi-automated trucks instead of by hand. 

Collection sites were selected based on the volume of trash-related complaints made to the city. During the first phase, two sites distributed bags via kiosks while others relied on outreach workers to distribute the bags weekly. Violet Bag kiosks are being added to the remaining sites in the second phase.

When the pilot ends at the end of the month, the program will be re-evaluated and recommendations will be made about expanding the program city-wide.