San Francisco Wants Its Ambitious Zero-Waste Initiative to Go Global

In an effort to address climate change, San Francisco has a plan to get residents and businesses to do more than just recycle and compost.

2 minute read

September 5, 2018, 2:00 PM PDT

By Camille Fink

San Francisco Ferry Building

Dianne Yee / Flickr

Recycling and composting have long been a part of life in San Francisco. Now the city is leading the way with a no-waste initiative. It is asking other cities to join it in a commitment to decrease the amount of all waste and recyclables by 15 percent and the amount of material going to landfills by 50 percent by 2030.

To push beyond just recycling and composting, city leaders are coming up with ways to get more materials out of the waste stream. “Residents will have to voluntarily give up some of the stuff they buy, for example, and more pressure will have to be exerted on manufacturers to make things that don’t break down,” reports Kurtis Alexander.

San Francisco is hosting the Global Climate Action Summit, an event bringing together environmental activists and leaders from around the world, starting September 12. The Trump administration’s reversal of policies intended to curb climate change means more efforts are happening at the state and local levels:

Absent federal leadership, organizers of the San Francisco summit expect to roll out initiatives among cities, states and other subnational governments, as well as from businesses, with such climate goals as making buildings more energy efficient, increasing investment in environmentally friendly bonds and generating zero waste.

The city plans to promote its zero-waste initiative at the summit as a way to encourage other cities to reduce methane and energy use.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 in San Francisco Chronicle

Aerial view of homes on green hillsides in Daly City, California.

Depopulation Patterns Get Weird

A recent ranking of “declining” cities heavily features some of the most expensive cities in the country — including New York City and a half-dozen in the San Francisco Bay Area.

April 10, 2024 - California Planning & Development Report

Close-up of maroon California 'Clean Air Vehicle' carpool lane access sticker on the back bumper of a silver Tesla vehicle.

California EV Owners To Lose Carpool Lane Privilege

A program that began in 1999 to encourage more electric car ownership is set to expire next year without Congressional and state action.

April 2, 2024 - San Francisco Chronicle

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Google street view of grassy lot next to brick church with elevated freeway on other side in Houston, Texas.

Houston Supportive Housing Development Sparks Debate

Critics say a proposed apartment building would negatively impact the neighborhood’s walkability.

April 12 - Houston Chronicle

Closed black wrought iron gate in front of gated residential community with large palm trees along sides of street.

Friday Funny: Gated Community Doubles Down

The Onion skewers suburbia.

April 12 - The Onion

Aerial view of Chicago with river in foreground.

‘Cut the Tape’ Report Takes Aim at Inefficiencies

A set of recommendations from the Chicago mayor’s office calls for streamlining city processes to stimulate more residential and commercial development.

April 12 - Block Club Chicago

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.