Next month, San Francisco's new mandatory recycling ordinance will take effect. The law, signed by Mayor Gavin Newsom in late June, requires all residences and commercial buildings to participate in the city's recycling and composting programs. The new law is part of the city's effort to reach a 75 percent landfill diversion rate by 2010 and 100 percent diversion rate by 2020. San Francisco's diversion rate currently stands at a somewhat mind-boggling 72 percent, and a recent study found that 36 percent of the city's landfilled waste is compostable and 31 percent is recyclable. The study says that if all of that material were recovered instead, San Francisco's landfill diversion rate would jump to 90 percent.

Environmentalists are particularly excited about the benefits of composting. According to Mother Jones magazine, a study by the Kutztown, Pa.-based Rodale Institute “found that applying compost to cropland sequestered a staggering 10,802 pounds more carbon dioxide per hectare each year than farming with conventional manure fertilizer. That's more than the yearly emissions of a Chevy impala.”

To learn more about collecting waste for compost, check out "Back to Nature," our profile of Greenco Environmental located on p. 48 of our August issue. And WASTECON attendees should attend the “Implementing Food Waste Recovery” technical session on the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 24.

Obviously, economics and other factors may make collecting waste for compost impractical, but when local governments and private haulers are looking for ways to benefit the environment, this is something they should consider.

  • The most recent Waste Age 100, published in our August issue, is now available online. But unlike past years, this year's online listing is much more than a mere reprinting of the rankings.

    This year, the online ranking comes with quick access to detailed information about each of the firms, such as stock symbols, links to Web sites, a brief profile and recent Waste Age articles on the company. All of this is available simply by clicking on the company name. This is a resource you won't find on any other site. Check it out by visiting http://wasteage.com/waste-age-100/ today!

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