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Mandatory Composting Begins in San Francisco Today

Beginning today, the city of San Francisco will require both businesses and residences to compost food scraps and biodegradable products or risk a fine for not properly sorting their garbage. While other cities require recycling service and participation, the law, which Mayor Gavin Newsom signed into effect in June, is the first nationwide to require the collection of food scraps and other compostables.

A study 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. Seeing that SF already has an impressive 72 percent recycling rate, the legislation could send that rate soaring to 90 percent.

To facilitate the program, the city will offer free green compost carts to apartment buildings and businesses, as well as free kitchen pails for renters. Fines will be capped at $100 and are meant primarily to raise public awareness and encourage compliance. Has your city or town made any moves to require composting? Has your city had success with any recycling fines or mandates? Tell me by commenting below!

Source: Flickr User MayorGavinNewsom

Join The Conversation
vinnie vinnie 7 years
Awesome. I would totally do that, if Los Angeles offered it everywhere. Right now it's only in test markets.
Home Home 7 years
onlysourcherry, yes, the compost cart/bin looks similar to a large plastic garbage or recycling can, and is closed. When I lived in San Francisco (in a three-story walk-up apt), each household had a sink-side kitchen pail provided for them, and then we emptied our compost into the big green compost bin/cart that was on the side of our building. I'm not sure how they'll deal with the smell factor in larger buildings, but hopefully they have a good plan!
Fitness Fitness 7 years
This is great news!
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 7 years
So I understand how composting works if you live in a house with a backyard or garden, but how on earth do you do it in an apartment building? I see you said "compost carts." does that mean there is a cart of rotting food sitting inside the building somewhere?
DeviousMuse DeviousMuse 7 years
I really wish that Atlanta would start doing mandatory recycling. Dekalb is the only Metro county that provides recycling containers & pick-up right now. If Fulton would join in, too, it could mean even more momentum for the cause!
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