Today San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced that the City and County of San Francisco has improved its already impressive waste diversion rate to 80%.
Last year, San Francisco kept 78% of its waste out of landfills--the highest rate over any other city in the country. The year before that, the diversion rate was 72%.
San Francisco continues to push boundaries and achieve increasing diversion rates with its curbside collection of recyclable materials (paper, plastic, etc) as well as compostable materials such as food and yard waste.
Mayor Lee said in a statement,
"Recycling and composting is not only good for our environment, it is also good for our economy. Recycling alone creates 10 times more jobs than simply sending refuse to the landfill, and I applaud Recology, the Department of Environment and San Franciscans for reaching this record milestone of 80% diversion."
SF Department of Environment Director Melanie Nutter noted,
"Innovative policies, financial incentives, as well as outreach and education are all effective tools in our toolbox that have helped San Francisco reach 80 percent diversion. We would not have achieved this milestone without the hard work and partnership of many people and businesses across the City."
The statement also estimated that if all cities had San Francisco's diversion rate, it would create 2.3 million more jobs in the US.
Last year, the city sent 440,000 tons to its landfill and estimated that about 50% could have been recycled or composted. San Francisco hopes to achieve 100% diversion by 2020.
CAW-sponsored legislation (AB 341 - Assemblymember Wes Chesbro) mandates a 75% diversion rate for the state by 2020. One of the major benefits of the legislation, also recognized by San Francisco, is the creation of more green jobs.