Recycling Announcements, Earth Day 2008

(April 23, 2008)

MAYOR NEWSOM ANNOUNCES 70% CITY RECYCLING RATE AND NEW MANDATORY RECYCLING AND COMPOSTING ORDINANCE

Celebrates 100th school in Food to Flowers! program

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--Today, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced a highest-in-the-nation 70% recycling rate while celebrating the 100th school participating in the Food to Flowers! composting program. Diversion, which includes recycling, composting, and re-use, has increased from 35% in 1996, to 70% today. Diversion accounts for 1,415,159 tons of waste, or 70% of the total waste stream.

"San Francisco is making it easier than ever to participate in recycling collection programs, and our new 70% diversion rate is proof of our commitment a zero-waste future," said Mayor Newsom. "I want to build upon this commitment to waste reduction with legislation that will get us to a 75% recycling rate and ultimately support our 2012 Climate Action Plan goal."

The proposed legislation may require:
- All landlords to provide adequate recycling and composting for their tenants;
- Businesses that sell items (e.g., takeout food) to allow the public to deposit small amounts of recyclables, compostables and trash in their receptacles;
- Event organizers to site and manage sufficient groups of recycling, composting and trash receptacles;
- If incorrect materials are found in a receptacle (e.g., recyclables in the trash, trash in compostables), the collector shall leave a tag identifying the problem. If incorrect materials continue to be found, the collector can leave a tag and not empty the receptacle;
- Materials accepted in recycling and composting programs to be banned from the landfill transfer station.

Mayor Newsom made the announcement at Leonard Flynn Elementary School, the 100th school to join the Food to Flowers! program. Food to Flowers! uses assemblies and standards-based curriculum to educate students about the importance of protecting nature and how composting and recycling can help.

Green and blue carts are placed in the cafeteria so students can compost and recycle during lunch. City schools began composting with the green cart in 2000. All Food to Flowers! schools have free access to the compost that is created from the program.

Food to Flowers! is responsible for diverting approximately 3,300 tons a year and is part of SF Environment's award-winning School Education Program that teaches 20,000 students annually and includes other programs such as: Stop Litter assemblies, Water Pollution Prevention Presentations, Teacher Workshops, and free Field Trips for 85 classes so students can visit the Transfer Station, the Garden for the Environment, the Conservatory of Flowers, and the newly opened EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park.