San Francisco Mandates Country’s Most Comprehensive Composting Program

San Francisco is leading the way in requiring its citizens to compost and recycle solid waste.  According to this article, San Francisco recycles approximately 72 percent of its waste, which is the best percentage in the country.  Read more about this bold move towards composting…

Posted by Janet

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors this week overwhelmingly passed what is likely the country’s most comprehensive recycling and composting ordinance. The Board voted 9-2 to require residents and business owners to sort recyclables, food waste and trash for weekly collection, in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions and, ultimately, make the city landfill- and incinerator-free by 2020.
The ordinance, which will take effect this fall, provides fines for failure to comply with the recycling/composting regulations.

San Francisco currently recycles about 72 percent of its waste, the best percentage in the country. Composting food waste could up that figure to 90 percent, according to some estimates. Additionally, food scraps, plant waste and other organic materials decompose in landfills, creating methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more potent than CO2. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, an organization dedicated to environmentally friendly development, the global warming impact of methane emissions in the short term is 72 times greater than the impact of CO2. (See Methane to Energy post above)

In a June 2008 report, Stop Trashing the Climate, the Institute noted that reducing materials going to landfills and incinerators could be equivalent to shuttering 21 percent of the country’s 417 coal-fired energy plants.

“San Francisco has the best recycling and composting programs in the nation,” Mayor Gavin Newsom said. “We can build on our success.”

The city sends its food scraps and other compostable material each day to the Jepson-Prairie composting facility in Vacaville, Calif. Owned by Recology, the facility uses the scraps to create soil amendments that it sells to vineyards, retail soil bagging operations, landscapers and the erosion control industry,

Source Article:

For more information about composting at home visit


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