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Recycling san francisco compost bin

Published on June 23rd, 2009 | by Gavin Newsom

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San Francisco Signs Nation's First Mandatory Composting Law

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June 23rd, 2009 by  

san francisco compost bin

Composting will prevent tons of material from going to the landfill, create healthy soil for our local farms and help us fight global warming.

Today at the Farmer’s Market in front of San Francisco’s iconic Ferry Building I am signing the nation’s first mandatory composting law. It’s the most comprehensive recycling and composting legislation in the country and the first to require residents and businesses to compost food scraps.

A number of years ago, San Francisco set a lofty green goal—we wanted to divert 75 percent of our resources from the landfill by 2010 and achieve zero waste by 2020. At the time, many people thought our targets were overly ambitious. However, San Francisco is poised to meet these goals. We are currently keeping 72 percent of recyclable material out of our landfill.

We recently conducted a waste-stream analysis and discovered that about two thirds of the garbage people throw away—half a million tons each year—could have been recycled or turned to compost. If we were able to capture everything, we’d be recycling 90 percent—preventing additional waste material from going to the landfill, and creating hundreds of green-collar jobs.

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About the Author

was the youngest San Francisco mayor in over a century when he was elected at the age of 41. Newsom, the son of William and Tessa Newsom, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended Santa Clara University on a partial baseball scholarship, graduating in 1989 with a B.A. in political science. After only 36 days as mayor, Newsom gained worldwide attention when he granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This bold move set the tone for Newsom’s first term. Under his energetic leadership, the economy grew and jobs were created. The city became a center for biotech and clean tech. He initiated a plan to bring universal health care to all of the city’s uninsured residents. And Newsom aggressively pursued local solutions to global climate change. In 2007, Newsom was re-elected with over 73% of the vote. Since then he has built upon the successes of his first term, launching new environmental initiatives and a comprehensive strategy to transform one of the city’s most troubled neighborhoods into a life sciences, digital media, and clean tech center.



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  • Julie Peterson

    People will do the right thing if they’re educated and have the inner drive to do so. Mandatory composting is NOT the answer.

    I look forward to the garbage man’s face when he has to handle my maggot-filled can that’s had raw meat scraps festering in it for a week.

  • Julie Peterson

    People will do the right thing if they’re educated and have the inner drive to do so. Mandatory composting is NOT the answer.

    I look forward to the garbage man’s face when he has to handle my maggot-filled can that’s had raw meat scraps festering in it for a week.

  • http://blog.thenatureschild.com Cate

    I wrote on this a few weeks ago. Congrats to your city! Once residents ease into it, they’ll probably be thankful for it. It cuts your garbage waste (and smell) significantly. I’ve composted in every place I’ve lived in VA since I moved here 7 years ago, even if I wasn’t using it in a garden.

    Now, my DH and I love what our compost does for our garden. We have a few piles at various stages and use them regularly.

    This is a great initiative.

  • http://blog.thenatureschild.com Cate

    I wrote on this a few weeks ago. Congrats to your city! Once residents ease into it, they’ll probably be thankful for it. It cuts your garbage waste (and smell) significantly. I’ve composted in every place I’ve lived in VA since I moved here 7 years ago, even if I wasn’t using it in a garden.

    Now, my DH and I love what our compost does for our garden. We have a few piles at various stages and use them regularly.

    This is a great initiative.

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