San Francisco Launches New Online Effort to Reach Zero Waste

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Last month, we launched our first iPhone app based on a city feed to help San Franciscans recycle 75 percent of the materials that would otherwise go to the landfill by 2010. Today, we are kicking off a new online effort ( to get us over this green goal line and help our city save resources, energy, and reduce pollution.

In San Francisco, we have led the country in creating ambitious yet achievable programs to help residents and businesses decrease the amount of waste going into our landfill. Our modern curbside program began back in the 80s with the crazy idea that people could recycle their newspapers.

Today, you can recycle or compost almost everything, and San Francisco diverts more than 72 percent of its waste from the landfill. And with our historic new recycling and mandatory composting law, we can really see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel on the way to attaining our goal of Zero Waste.

How did we do it? Through people. Initially it was a few passionate San Franciscans hauling bottles and cans over to the redemption center, but over the years recycling has become an essential part of everyday life.

Now let us know how you did it. What’s your recycling story? Join the hundreds of San Franciscans who are telling us their recycling stories at

Take, for instance, Sirron, an artist from the Mission who loves the fact that his unused paint gets picked up and recycled by the City for free. Or maybe you are more like Norma; a mom in the Haight (my new neighborhood) who has discovered that nearly everything her family uses—from plates, to containers to pizza boxes—can go into the blue or green carts.  It’s made clean-up at their home easy, and the kids are all sorting “experts.”

“Big” kids can become sorting experts too. Check out Recycle Slam, an old school styled game we created that teaches kids (and their parents) about proper sorting. I warn you it is a bit addictive.

This past year, like perhaps never before, we’ve seen a surge in how young people, older adults, single parents and whole families can influence change. Be part of our historic effort to reach Zero Waste by 2020. Join me at We will only meet our recycling goals together.

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