San Francisco passed a new law that will make recycling and composting mandatory. The city already boasts a 72 percent recycling rate, but the new law will push the city forward towards its goal of zero waste by 2020.
Residents will be given three bins: a black bin for trash, blue for recyclables and green for composting. Garbage collectors will then be on the lookout for a stray banana peel or beer bottle in the trash cans.
If recyclable or compostable items are found in the garbage bins, the resident will be warned on the first offense. Repeat offenders will be issued fines of $100 for small businesses and single-family homes and up to $1,000 for large businesses and multiunit buildings.
According to Nathan Ballard, spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom, the City is most excited about the mandatory composting. According to the New York Times, the city already composts 400 tons of food scraps daily. Ninety percent of this goes to enrich the soil of vineyards in Napa and Sonoma Counties.
“When the nation is looking at complex solutions for climate-change reduction, we should not overlook the importance of simple things like increasing the recycling rate and composting,” Blumenfeld says.
For those residents who haven’t been keeping up with their recycling efforts, new technology is tailored to the city of San Francisco. The new EcoFinder iPhone App is now available for download. The interface is similar to Earth911’s new iRecycle® App and is able to pinpoint recycling locations for specific materials.