San Francisco's Zero Waste policy gives it a leg up over New York
City in 2012 Olympics bid
NY -- Monday’s historic vote by the San Francisco Board
of Supervisors adopting a zero waste goal presents a stark contrast
with New York City, according to the GrassRoots Recycling Network
(GRRN). San Francisco is competing with New York City to be named
the official United States entry for the 2012 Summer Games.
City is embroiled in a 1980’s debate over how to handle its
waste. Meanwhile, San Francisco is diverting almost half of its
waste and now has committed to continue on to zero waste,”
said Bill Sheehan, GRRN’s executive director. “New York
is cutting back its meager recycling program while San Francisco
has implemented residential and business food scraps collection
and is passing producer responsibility resolutions that address
the root problem of waste.”
considerations have become increasingly important in recent years
in determining the site of Olympic games.
The San Francisco
Board of Supervisors voted Monday to set an aggressive goal of diverting
75 percent of the City’s discards by 2010, and to establish
the timeline for achieving zero waste as soon as the City reaches
a 50 percent diversion rate. San Francisco currently recycles about
49 percent of its waste according to staff, and will reach the 50
percent mark later this year or next year.
Waste was once an idealistic dream but it is now a realistic goal
and a model for our communities,” said Sheehan, GRRN’s
Executive Director. “Not every community wants to cast itself
in San Francisco’s mold, but for communities intent on protecting
their environment, saving taxpayer dollars, and promoting a robust
local economy, San Francisco’s Zero Waste resolution advances
a strategy suitable for everyone,” continued Sheehan.
GRRN is a North American network of recycling professionals and
waste reduction activists promoting a sustainable and equitable
economy through the principle of Zero Waste. Zero Waste changes
the way resources and materials flow through our society, closing-off
waste disposal in landfills and incinerators and focusing instead
to design out waste and ensure discards can be cycled safely back
into the environment or the economy.
Francisco is the first major U.S. city to make a strong commitment
to a goal of Zero Waste. They continue building on their leadership
in the areas of environmental protection and resource management,”
said Gary Liss, a Zero Waste advisor to GRRN. “San Francisco
should not be alone, however. There are dozens of cities and communities
across the country that could follow this bold path and embrace
the Zero Waste strategy. GRRN is ready to help, with the tools and
expertise necessary to go beyond recycling,” continued Liss.
Zero Waste is
gaining momentum around the world and at every level of government,
from Del Norte County, California, to the state of Wisconsin, to
the country of New Zealand – in each place, Zero Waste has
been established as a vision to guide long-range planning. Examples
of Zero Waste plans and extensive background materials are available
on-line at www.GRRN.org/media/.