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San Francisco Celebrates Main Local weather Success With 25 Years Of Composting

October 20, 2021

The city’s roadside composting program leads the country, providing easy home composting for all San Franciscans and promoting the city’s no-waste efforts

San Francisco, California – Mayor of London N. Breed today recalled 25 years of bio-recovery as part of the most successful, comprehensive and innovative composting program in the country. Since 1996, local residents and businesses have reclaimed organic material, mostly leftover food, from landfills and dumped it on local farmland, vineyards and ranches. Today the city collects more than 500 tons from the green bin every day.

“I am so proud of our residents and businesses as they continue to move forward and redefine what it means to be a sustainable city,” said Mayor Breed. “For decades, the San Franciscans have been increasing the amount of leftover food they have collected in the green bin and helping us get closer to the Zero Waste City we want to be. This persistence and dedication has shown cities around the world what is possible to try to emulate our practices. ”

To commemorate this milestone, Mayor Breed and the Environment Department are asking residents to challenge themselves during the upcoming holiday season by using their green and blue bin more than their black bin. To support these efforts, the Environment Ministry launched an eight-week public awareness campaign in which residents were offered a free compost bin for their home. Throughout the campaign, residents will be reminded with helpful tips and resources that encourage them to rethink old habits and move towards zero waste.

“As our city’s total emissions continue to decrease thanks to decades of successful climate protection measures, we are still faced with the challenge of pulling the carbon we already have from the air,” said Debbie Raphael, Director of the Ministry of the Environment. “When you use the green bin, you’re turning food waste that would otherwise have landed in landfills into rich, nutrient-rich compost that feeds our farms while capturing CO2 from the atmosphere. There is no better time than now to improve our consumer behavior and ultimately reduce waste. ”

Composting is critical to California’s fight against climate change. When used in local agriculture, soils enriched with compost are richer in nutrients, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers and improving water retention. This not only helps the plants to thrive, but also reduces the risk of forest fires. In addition, compost improves the overall quality and health of the soil, which benefits microbes and plants, which in turn sequester carbon from the air. In contrast, leftover food that is improperly disposed of in the black bin can become material that releases harmful methane gases into the atmosphere. Methane is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide when trapping heat in the atmosphere, so a significant reduction in methane emissions is critical to meeting our climate goals.

San Francisco’s waste grocery collection for composting program, the first of its kind in the United States, began in 1996 as a community-led initiative at the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market, now called The SF Market. Shortly thereafter, the city’s largest hotel chains worked with the city to implement the collection of leftover food for composting. Building on this success, a pilot compost program was launched in the Richmond District and, in 2001, roadside organic material was volunteered on all properties. In 2009, San Francisco became the first city in the country to mandate composting and recycling through the three-bin collection system that residents and businesses are familiar with today. As a direct result of San Francisco’s innovative policies and initiatives, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 1383 in 2016, which requires all jurisdictions to provide, among other things, methane reduction measures for residents and businesses, bio-collection services by 2022.

Today, leftover food and landscape scraps duly collected in the green bin are being shipped to Recology’s Blossom Valley Organics, a state-of-the-art facility near Vernalis, California. There, pollutants such as plastics are sorted out of the organic material. The filtered material is then shredded, laid out in swaths, and carefully managed to even out the moisture in the air. These steps encourage naturally occurring microbes to break down the organic matter and destroy harmful pathogens. After 60 days, the compost material is sold to local farmers to improve their soils. The San Francisco roadside food waste collection program removed more than 2.5 million tons of compostable material from the landfill.

“It is up to all of us to move forward and redefine what it means to be an environmental city. Because of this, our people have worked hard to ensure processes and best practices that are better for the planet, ”said Vanick Der Bedrossian, co-owner of San Francisco’s La Méditerranée restaurant, one of the city’s certified green businesses for his efforts to Waste reduction and a lower carbon footprint. “We are grateful to be part of a community and city that shares these values ​​and welcome others to take the next step by joining the city’s Green Business program.”

At the 2018 World Climate Summit, Mayor Breed committed San Francisco to new zero waste targets and urged other cities to make the same promise. In particular, the city has pledged to reduce municipal waste generation by 15% by 2030 and landfill disposal by 50% by 2030. Today, San Francisco recovers more material than perhaps any other city in the United States, in part due to mandatory recycling and composting. However, bold action and new investment are still vital to achieving the city’s goals.

Residents who want to learn more about the award-winning campaign and receive a free compost bin can visit sfgasrelief.org. For more information on the Department of Environment’s Green Business program, visit sfenvironment.org/green-businesses.

This press release was produced by the San Francisco Office of the Mayor. The views expressed here are your own.

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