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.
September 5, 2018, 2pm PDT | Camille Fink
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Dianne Yee

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.

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Published on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 in San Francisco Chronicle
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