San Francisco reports record 80% diversion rate

This is from October 2012, but still worth celebrating. We keep dealing with communities where local officials want to pursue incineration (not realizing that it's the most expensive and polluting way to make energy or to dispose of waste) while they haven't even tried to get serious about zero waste programs (redesign / reduce / reuse / recycle / compost). San Francisco is leading the way, having managed to hit 80% diversion of waste from landfills and incinerators. Other communities, like Austin, Texas, have developed ambitious zero waste plans as well and find them economically viable even while competing with super-cheap landfilling fees of only $20/ton.  Read on for the news from San Francisco:

San Francisco reports record 80% diversion rate

October 5, 2012
By Jeremy Carroll, Waste & Recycling News

San Francisco extended its best-in-the-country diversion rate, reporting the city has achieved an 80% landfill diversion rate.

Mayor Edwin Lee made the announcement today.

The city previously led the nation in diversion with 78% for 2010-2011, up from 72% in 2009-2010. In addition to collecting plastics, metals and paper, the city collects food waste and yard waste to be turned into compost. Recology Inc. is the exclusive hauler for the city.

"Recycling and composting is not only good for our environment, it is also good for our economy," Lee said in a statement. "Recycling alone creates 10 times more jobs than simply sending refuse to the landfill, and I applaud Recology, the Department of Environment and San Franciscans for reaching this record milestone of 80% diversion."

Michael Sangiacomo, president and CEO of Recology, said it is proud to be a partner in this achievement and hopes to continue to help the city reach its zero-waste goal by 2020.

"Innovative policies, financial incentives, as well as outreach and education are all effective tools in our toolbox that have helped San Francisco reach 80% diversion," said San Francisco Department of Environment director Melanie Nutter in a statement. "We would not have achieved this milestone without the hard work and partnership of many people and businesses across the city."

The city said of the 444,000 tons of material sent to the landfill in the last fiscal year, about half of it could have been recycled or composted.

More details at: