With many San Franciscans nearing the eve of a turkey-focused feast, city and waste-hauling officials on Tuesday extolled the environmental benefits of composting food scraps and wasted leftovers.
The City and its waste hauling company, which recently changed its name from Norcal Waste Systems to Recology, have been collecting food scraps and other compostable waste in green curbside bins since 1996.
The green bin program was rolled out citywide in 2001 and mandated for all businesses and residents this year.
The waste that’s collected in green bins is converted to compost in Vacaville and then sold to farmers.
“This program thrives on what you don’t eat,” San Francisco Environment Department Director Jared Blumenfeld said during a press conference Tuesday in front of the Ferry Building.
Blumenfeld called on residents to compost during this year’s Thanksgiving holiday period.
Since 1996, more than 620,000 tons of compostable material was collected in the green curbside bins, according to new figures released Tuesday.
By composting that material, emissions of climate-changing methane were avoided because the food did not rot in a landfill. Additionally, carbon was returned to soil as compost instead of into the atmosphere, where it would have contributed to the greenhouse effect.
Climate-changing pollution that would have been released if the 620,000 tons of waste had been dumped into landfill, instead of composted, was equivalent to the exhaust emissions from vehicles traversing the Bay Bridge over nearly a year, according to Blumenfeld.