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Is zero waste possible? The city of San Francsico thinks so!

Zero waste means sending NOTHING to the landfill or for incineration.

We recycle and reuse what we can…but  zero waste?  Can you imagine generating zero waste in your own household?

View of San Francisco from TI rd

Early evening panorama photo of picturesque and environmentally progressive city of San Francisco, California (population 825,863). Photo taken from Treasure Island, California

In a  study of metropolitan area cities in the U.S. and Canada called the North American Green Cities Index, San Francisco was named the greenest city in North America for its environmental performance and outlook.

zerowaste SF

Right now, 80% of  San Francisco’s waste is diverted from going to  landfills or for incineration.  Pretty good for a major U.S. city right?  But 80% is not good enough for a city with goals of Zero Waste by 2020.

One way to get to a goal of zero waste in 6 years is to tackle recycling of textiles — since it turns out that San Franciscans send 4,500 pounds of textile to the landfill every hour.

textiles clothes_pileAnd it turns out too, that much of the 39 million pounds of textiles the rest of us send to the U.S. waste stream each year can be reused or recycled into insulation material, or for flooring, packaging, or cushioning in stuffed toys, insoles, and bags.

With 82% of Americans now living in cities, implementing aggressive waste reduction goals is a must for metropolitan areas.

San Francisco — with its zero waste goals —  seems a model “green city” now, and a model for the future.

Related links:

The U.S. Zero Waste Business Council – Their vision: The U. S. Zero Waste Business Council will create a solid foundation that advances the integrity and credibility of Zero Waste. Zero Waste Businesses save money, are more efficient, manage risk, reduce litter and pollution, cut greenhouse gases, reinvest resources locally, and create jobs and more value for their business and the community.

San Francisco County Quick Facts from the US Census Bureau

SF zero waste textile bin

Click on the textile bin photo or here for San Francisco’s Zero Waste Textile Recycling Initiative (free textile collection bins for business, apartments, and for community groups).

What do you think about zero waste goals and programs?

Do you recycle all your textiles by donating to local organizations or would you use these textile drop off bins if these are available where you live or work?

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