Strange that I just read a story about flower power in connection with San Francisco in the sixties. Now there’s a new kind of green peace happening on the streets there. Compost to the people. Or rather, people to the compost.
Breaking news that I picked up on Jonathan’s US food waste site is that once summer is over, San Fran residents will be required to sort their food waste. Bye-bye trash can, hello Bokashi bin.
The San Franscisco Chronicle writes that
Throwing orange peels, coffee grounds and grease-stained pizza boxes in the trash will be against the law in San Francisco, and could even lead to a fine.
The Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 Tuesday to approve Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposal for the most comprehensive mandatory composting and recycling law in the country. It’s an aggressive push to cut greenhouse gas emissions and have the city sending nothing to landfills or incinerators by 2020.
Needless to say some residents are up in arms. Rats. Smell. Too hard.
Let’s hope they find a good way of implementing the scheme so that more people than not come to see the joys of composting. No, composting is not perfect — it creates more greenhouse gases than we’d like to admit (which is why Bokashi is an ideal alternative). But the big breakthrough, the first step in a long journey, is to wake up to the enormous potential that food waste has as a resource. Sort it and SEE IT. If you have to look at how much food you’re throwing out you must surely start to see ways of cutting back on what gets tossed. If you start getting food out of landfill you start seeing how much less we could load the planet if we try. And if you start thinking about where the food waste came from in the first place you might start to understand the connection to our soil. Why what we eat comes from the soil and must ultimately return to the soil. Recycling of food is every bit as important as recycling of paper, glass, metal and all the other things we’re so good at.
And it doesn’t need to be a horrible process. Food recycling can be fun. Just add some imagination, maybe its not necessary to go down the whole council route. Maybe you can get it back into your own garden or at least a garden in a neighbourhood near you. There’s a real and rarely experienced joy waiting for you down the track: soil that’s looked after and fed well with what we can’t eat ourselves will pay us back with fantastic food that we might never have expected to be rewarded with.
Go on, give it a try all you San Fran residents! Show the world what a success it can be — show us the rewards, the joys and how it can really be done well! And good luck.
By the way, it seems like San Fran residents can go bucket in hand and pick up some real live compost made from their own food waste. Check apartmenttherapy.com!
PS Anyone wanting to find out why composting is good but actually not great should check out www.bokashicycle.com. A US site. Yes, they sell Bokashi bins but they also have a lot of excellent research documentation and reasoned argumentation why it is essential we get food waste down into the ground where it will become nature-saving carbon instead of the heady mix of methane and carbon dioxide which untamed compost generates.