Mandatory Composting Law Already a Success in San Francisco


Photo via Green Inc

When I reported earlier this year that San Francisco was instituting a law making it mandatory to recycle and compost--lest citizens face a $500 fine--it was met with mixed reactions. Some were worried that such a law would infringe upon citizens' freedoms. Well, that fear can be laid to rest. The law is already a hit with San Franciscans--and it didn't even officially go into effect until today. It's now illegal to throw your food waste into the trash in San Francisco.

But news that this was coming has already had a big impact on business, residents, and the amount of waste diverted from landfills. Green Inc reports that since the announcement of the law, the amount of waste collected for composting has risen from 400 to 500 tons a day. In anticipation of the law, many companies and landlords made advance arrangements, and were obeying the law before it even came to exist.

And it's raising the standard of living in many cases, as well. In cases documented by NPR, compostable food waste is no longer lingering in apartment buildings' trash chutes or basements, and stinking the place up. And as a whole, the program has got the city talking about the environment, and related topics like climate change--and the support for the program seems unanimous.

Listen to the brief NPR story on the recycling law to get a good sense of how it's working:

People have already been using the bins distributed by the city to turn in their food scraps, as the story notes--half of the entire city's food waste is already being processed. It's a good sign indeed, and bodes well for other cities and states that may consider such laws.

More on San Francisco
Renzo Piano's Green Museum in San Francisco
Green City Guide: San Francisco

Tags: California | Recycling | San Francisco | United States

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