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San Francisco Reports 80 Percent Waste Diversion Rate

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Garbage Truck. (CBS)

Garbage Truck. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The city of San Francisco is diverting 80 percent of all its waste away from landfills, Mayor Ed Lee announced Friday.

Working with the city’s Department of the Environment and Recology, the city’s garbage collector, Lee has been pushing residents, businesses and industry to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost in an effort to create a zero-waste community.

The city recorded in 2011 that 80 percent of waste was kept away from landfills, in part due to advanced waste reduction programs that include recycling and composting.

In 2010, the city diverted 78 percent of materials from landfills.

The city has set a goal to become zero-waste by 2020.

Zero-waste means sending nothing to landfills or incinerators, SF Department of the Environment commercial zero waste coordinator Jack Macy said.

Reducing, reusing, recycling and compost aim to be the alternate methods to deal with unwanted materials.

“Our approach is to get everyone to separate their stuff out,” Macy said.

“We are not just saving on landfill space, but these are valuable resources and we are just throwing them away.”

According to the mayor’s office, the city still sends 440,000 tons of materials to landfills each year despite halving the amount of waste dumped in the past decade.

With more than one million visitors expected to descend into the city for various events this weekend including the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park, Fleet Week and America’s Cup racing along the waterfront, athletic events at AT&T and Candlestick parks, and the Castro Street Festival in the eponymous neighborhood, the city has required event organizers to coordinate waste management plans.

For example, an event waste diversion small business, Green Mary, works with the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival to divert as much as 85 percent of waste at the free music festival.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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