San Francisco’s urban composting program reached a milestone Nov. 22, as Recology, the city’s solid waste and recycling collection company, picked up its millionth ton of food scraps – more than two times the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Since its launch in 1996, the City by the Bay’s compost program has saved 2.7 million cubic yards of landfill space and produced 600,000 cubic yards of finished compost, Recology said. More than 200 Bay Area farms and vineyards have applied this nutrient-rich soil amendment to their fields.
Recology picks up more than 600 tons of food scraps and garden waste from the city’s residents and businesses each day.
“The compost program not only gets [San Francisco] one step closer to our zero waste goal, it’s also a critical component in reducing carbon emissions around the Bay Area,” said Melanie Nutter, San Francisco’s environment director, in a statement.
San Francisco’s composting program helps shrink the city’s carbon footprint two ways: by diverting organic material from the landfill – where it would give off methane, a powerful greenhouse gas – and by sequestering carbon in the topsoil of farms that use the finished product.
According to Recology, the compost program has avoided the release of and sequestered over 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide since its inception – which is equal to the emissions produced by vehicles crossing the Bay Bridge for two years.