Monday, October 8, 2007

Curbside Composting in Cville?

San Francisco has set an ambitious goal for itself: divert 75% of its waste materials from the landfill by 2010. And the city is well on its way to achieving that goal; a few months ago, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that San Francisco had already reached a 69% recycling rate for 2007. Since over 35% of San Francisco's wastestream was organic material (mostly plant trimmings and food scraps), the city launched a curbside composting program a few years ago, which has been a huge boost to its waste-diversion efforts. "If it came from something that was once alive, you can compost it," says the city's website. Each day, 300 tons of food scraps, leaves, grass, etc. are taken to a facility where they are turned into nutrient-rich organic compost.

Perhaps Charlottesville should consider starting its own curbside composting program. Right now our City's recycling rate is 38%, and our Citizens Committee on Environmental Sustainability is soon going to urge Council to set a 50% goal for 2008. That's ambitious, but I think it's good to aim high. Removing recyclable/reusable materials from the wastestream is not only good for our environment, it also saves us money (one of the many ways in which being green can save you green). We've been making great strides lately with our City's recycling efforts and I would like to think that between our expanded curbside recycling program, our new system-wide recycling initiative in the City schools, and a new curbside composting program, we could easily achieve that 50% goal in a fairly short time period. And who knows, maybe someday we could find ourselves aiming even higher -- San Francisco, here we come!


Lonnie said...

That's certainly an interesting idea. Considering that there was also some dispute about the ordinances regarding composting in the City*, maybe this could be part of that solution? After all, I hear that the leaf mulch from the leaves the city collects is very popular with gardeners.

*(That may be resolved now - I haven't kept up with that issue)

Laura said...

YES to municipal composting of kitchen waste! Yes yes yes! Many of us live in apartment buildings where even a worm bin is not so feasible.