MAY 2012

San Francisco celebrates composting achievements

San Francisco reached a major environmental milestone last November having collected a million tons of compostable material through Recology’s green bin program, and now, the millionth ton returns to San Francisco to be applied as nutrient-rich compost to fertilize gardens and grow healthy, organic foods.

San Francisco diverts 78 percent of all waste generated in the city away from landfill disposal through source reduction, reuse, and recycling and composting programs. By working together, the City, Recology and the San Francisco Department of Environment have been able to provide some of the most innovative and advanced waste reduction programs in the country. These programs have landed San Francisco the honor of being named the Greenest City in North America and a perfect score for resource recovery and recycling category in the 2011 Siemens Green City Index. The City’s easy-to-use, readily available programs such as the curbside green bin program are shaping the country’s approach to waste.

“Residents and businesses have embraced the city’s goal of zero waste and are actively composting their coffee grounds, food scraps and plant cuttings,” said San Francisco environment director Melanie Nutter. “The compost program not only gets us one step closer to our goal of zero waste by 2020, it’s also a critical component in reducing carbon emissions around the Bay Area.”

The composting program alone has diverted one million tons of waste from landfill disposal.

Since its inception in 1996, the green bin composting program has converted city food scraps, plant trimmings and soiled paper into over 600,000 cubic yards of finished compost – a soil amendment that helps local farmers grow healthy, sustainable food.