July 3 - West Coast Cities Moving Closer to Zero Waste

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This past Sunday Seattle began its ban on single use plastic bags and the eco-minded of Seattle have even more to look forward to this summer.

Seattle just completed construction on an enormous transfer station (pictured) set to open this summer. The station, a cheerily designed modern looking structure, will sort and recycle materials that can be tricky for curbside programs such as large appliances, vehicle tires, and household sharps.

Seattle already has a great reputation for sustainability, requiring its residents to both compost and recycle, and aims to start a pilot program next month for biweekly trash pickup.

In Portland, Oregon they’re celebrating over eight months of the every other week pickup that began last fall. The biweekly system includes weekly pickup for recycling and food waste and has reduced landfill waste in the city by 44%.

A little further south, the City by the Bay currently reuses an impressive 78% of their waste. But even with progressive recycling programs such as those in Seattle and Oregon and the high reuse rates of SF, most will still tell you we still have a long way to go to reach zero waste. Deputy Director of San Francisco’s Department of the Environment, David Assmann, is quoted as saying

We have the infrastructure in place that could theoretically take us to 85%. The challenge is going to be that last 15 percent. We don’t have the blueprint yet that says exactly how we’re going to get to zero.

In addition to $50 million transfer station and the biweekly pickup, Seattle wants to incorporate a fourth bin in select neighborhoods by 2018. The bin will carry diapers and pet waste that can be used for power producing anaerobic digesters.

Read the NY Times article about Portland's biweekly pickup

More about CAW's part in promoting Zero Waste in California

 


 

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