SF Businesses Required to Compost

Businesses in San Francisco may face consequences if they don't compost. (Photo: Taz [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr)

Green offices in San Francisco may just be getting a wee bit greener. Today, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom signed legislation that mandates city businesses (and consumers) to participate in recycling and composting programs. City-mandated recycling programs are not new, but the SF mandate is the first in the country that requires food scraps be gathered for composting.

“A comprehensive study conducted by the Department of the Environment found that 36 percent of what San Francisco sends to landfills is compostable, primarily food scraps, and 31 percent is recyclable — which is mostly paper. There are facilities in the city and surrounding areas that reuse, recycle, compost or otherwise process and market most materials discarded in San Francisco, saving this material from landfill and creating green-collar jobs.” Source: City of San Francisco

Businesses that ignore the mandate may be fined. However, the fine is capped at $100 and the purpose of the program is not to levy fines against businesses but instead to raise awareness about the benefits of recycling and composting. Ultimately, the program is expected to raise the landfill diversion rate in the city to 75 percent.