San Francisco has the ambitious goal of eliminating all landfill waste by 2020. After the city achieved a 50% reduction in waste by 2000, as mandated for the entire state of California, San Francisco set ambitious goals of 75% waste diversion by 2010 and zero waste by 2020. The goals help promote sustainability through the conservation of natural resources, reduction of pollution and contaminants, and the addition of green jobs to the local economy.
“The City’s 3 bin system, policies, financial incentives, and extensive outreach to residents and businesses, helped San Francisco achieve the highest diversion rate of any major city in North America. San Francisco diverts 80% (1,593,830 tons diverted in 2010) of its discards from the landfill.” –San Francisco Department of the Environment
San Francisco continues to make huge strides towards a goal of Zero Waste. Recently, the city’s Board of Supervisors voted for new legislation that will ban bottled water on public city property. The ban would prevent any city tax revenue to be used to purchase bottled beverages. By 2016, the law would be enforceable for all street vendors on public property and by 2018 nonprofit organizations would be prohibited from using bottles unless receiving a special permit. The new legislation follows similar legislation that phased out the use of plastic bags in San Francisco grocery stores. Now there are cities in states like California and Hawaii where plastic bags a completely illegal.
The new legislation is designed to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills each year. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the direct result of our worlds over reliance on plastic products. This mass of plastic and other debris has been estimated to up to as large as the entire continental United States. Plastic bottles can be recycled, but are frequently discarded in the trash and end up in landfills. Over 30 Billion bottles of water are sold each year and the average American will use 167 bottles annually. And that’s just for BOTTLED WATER!!!