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.
Gavin Newsom, 41, is the youngest San Francisco mayor in over a century. 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.