Where No City Has Gone Before: San Francisco Will Be World's First Zero-Waste Town by 2020
Last month, the millionth ton of food scraps, coffee grounds and soiled paper from San Francisco’s mandatory composting program returned to residents’ dinner tables in the form of fresh, organic foods grown by local farmers using the city’s nutrient-rich compost as fertilizer. Coming on the heels of the city’s 2009 municipal ordinance requiring city-wide source separation of all organic materials, the first large-scale urban food waste and composting program in the country has not only helped reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions to nearly 12 percent below 1990 levels; it's also catapulted San Francisco to a staggering, nation-leading 78 percent waste diversion rate.
Just a few years ago, a zero-waste city was considered a futuristic scenario. Now, the city by the bay is on track to be the first and only North American city to achieve this impressive goal -- and it plans to get there by 2020.