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Published on July 17th, 2009 | by Gavin Newsom


San Francisco Launches New Online Effort to Reach Zero Waste

July 17th, 2009 by  

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 (www.RecyclingMoments.org) 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 RecyclingMoments.org.

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 RecyclingMoments.org. We will only meet our recycling goals together. 


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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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