Mandatory composting in San Francisco

by Walter Olson on June 11, 2009

“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.” [San Francisco Chronicle and "Thin Green Line" blog via Coyote] And a Coyote commenter reports from a Connecticut town where

they force us to separate everything. They pick up cans, glass, plastic and newspaper. However, all the other [mandatory recycling including catalogues] must be driven to the dump/recycling center – which conveniently closes by 3pm on weekdays and by noon on Saturday. We spend at least 1.5 hours every week sorting and delivering our recycling. EVERY week.

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New Anti-Garbage Laws in San Francisco: Fines, up to $500, for Discarding Orange Peels, Grease-Stained Pizza Boxes, Coffee Grounds « Frugal Café Blog Zone
06.17.09 at 5:57 pm

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1 Reformed Republican 06.11.09 at 8:57 am

This reminds me of the episode of Penn and Teller’s bullshit where they have a guy pretend to be a city or county official and get them to do a bunch of crazy trash sorting. I think there were ten bins or so.

2 Dennis 06.11.09 at 10:07 am

Throw them out the car window.

That’s what I do with batteries, fluorescent tubes, and other trash they make it too difficult and dangerous to throw in the trash.

3 GregS 06.11.09 at 1:19 pm

When you step back and look at it, there’s a whiff of “psychiatric disorder” with modern environmentalism’s obsession with garbage.

4 Dan Schwartz 06.11.09 at 2:05 pm

Not sure why that person in CT is complaining. In fact, much of Connecticut just went to single-stream recycling in most towns which allows you to dump EVERYTHING recyclable into one big bin. It’s increased the amount that people recycle and actually reduced the amount of trash. And no, it’s not mandatory. http://www.crra.org/pages/single-stream_recycling.htm

5 Todd Rogers 06.11.09 at 2:32 pm

Throw them out the car window.

That’s what I do with batteries, fluorescent tubes, and other trash they make it too difficult and dangerous to throw in the trash.

This is very funny. I prefer to just bury things in my neighbor’s yard after sunset.

6 Eric T 06.11.09 at 3:35 pm

We spend at least 1.5 hours every week sorting and delivering our recycling. EVERY week.

There is an alternative, of course. He can pay higher taxes to hire others to do the sorting. Or to pay for more landfills.

7 smurfy 06.11.09 at 5:01 pm

“We spend at least 1.5 hours every week sorting and delivering our recycling. EVERY week.”

Lush.

8 gitarcarver 06.11.09 at 9:29 pm

dump EVERYTHING recyclable into one big bin.

I dunna tink that word means what you tink it means.

http://www.crra.org/pages/member_towns_recycling_table.htm

9 Dave Lincoln 06.11.09 at 10:08 pm

Very funny comments! In addition, Eric T, there is

* “He can quit voting for left-wing wackos for local office, and convince his neighbors to quit also”.

Oh, and:

* “He can move out of that left-wing cesspool (and throw his remaining trash out of his car window on the way across the Bay Bridge, aka I-80 eastbound). The bay will clean itself up just fine, don’t worry your pretty little head about it.

10 Dave Lincoln 06.11.09 at 10:17 pm

“….to dump EVERYTHING recyclable into one big bin. It’s increased the amount that people recycle and actually reduced the amount of trash.”

Mr. Schwartz, that sounds pretty easy. It is easy on the residents, and you could say that, indeed, THE RESIDENTS “recycle” EVERYTHING. The real question is: What does the CITY recycle.? Probably, they recycle the same things that other places do: glass, aluminum, some paper, and most plastic. The rest goes into the landfill.

So, the trash gets to go to the landfill via a roundabout method, costing money for sorting and more hauling costs, as opposed to going directly to the landfill in a truck. So, good for the people driving the trash trucks (the mob), good for the city (the mob) as they need more employees for the nasty sorting facility, and good for the population (the SMUG factor goes way up. “We recycle EVERYTHING! Around here, we care (tilts his head, stirs his frapacinno) about THE PLANET).

Hmmmmm….

11 R 06.12.09 at 10:00 am

What does the CITY recycle.? Probably, they recycle the same things that other places do: glass, aluminum, some paper, and most plastic. The rest goes into the landfill.

But of course, you don’t even know the town he lives in, so you have no idea whether that assumption is correct.

Trash disposal and recycling centers are services provided; you might as well complain that when parents of school-chilren are called in for meetings with teachers or asked to chaperone events and outings it constitutes forced labor.

12 Dennis 06.12.09 at 10:39 am

We actually use single point recycling, here. Everything recyclable goes into a wheeliebin. I went to a presentation by Waste Management, some years ago, that explained why single point recycling works. “Instead of sorting trash with a $30 an hour truckdriver, you’re sorting with $8 an hour laborers.” For low value recycling, labor can kill the economics. (Like them or not, WM knows the economics of garbage, and it’s all about economics.)

They also found that with sorted recycling, they still get about the same levels of contaminated, thus unusable, recycle. Homeowners aren’t very good at sorting trash.

Dave Lincoln is right. A lot of “recycle” goes to the dump. If there is no market for it, you can’t recycle it. Composting is nice, unless you live next to the compost yard, but it takes a lot of land and what do you do with all the compost?

We were building Waste to Energy incinerators in the 70s and 80s. Even wet garbage has a net positive energy balance if you handle it right. The environmental Whackos killed them off. But I suppose we could still mine the dumps for garbage. It’s just that it’s more contaminated with dirt and of a lower energy value per ton.

13 mojo 06.12.09 at 11:54 am

Just throw it in your neighbor’s trash.

14 Dave Lincoln 06.12.09 at 11:59 am

R, you have to comprehend what I wrote. If you don’t do that, your subsequent post will make no sense. I didn’t speculate on what materials Mr. Schwartz “recycles” (That is just the stuff that he throws in that particular bin). I know what things are recyclable or not – those things are definitely aluminum and glass, certain plastics, and paper (but only if the paper is in shape and a certain material). So, I was stating what’s actually going to be recycled, meaning what things do not end up in the landfill. BTW, I got nothing against landfills anyway.

Any haphazard piece of trash that’s made of a variety of materials is also not easily recyclable, even if some parts are, due to the labor of taking it all apart.

Speaking of that last bit, cars are one of the most recycled products around, and many people don’t know that. Go to a junk yard and see what few usable parts are left these days, as compared to in the past. You hardly see any steering wheels, wheels, shift levers, instruments, knobs, anything. That is because they have all been (or going to be) sold on the web, or they have been in inventory, not just sitting on the cars anymore. It’s too bad for me, as someone who likes junk yards, but a good way of making more money.

Then, there is nothing but some plastic, foam, and glass left, in addition to the steel, which of course is recycled. This is because it is WORTH IT, something left-wing folks don’t understand (the free market that is). The car parts and the steel fetch enough money to make it worth it for the materials/parts to be reused.

15 Dave Lincoln 06.12.09 at 12:03 pm

Dennis, maybe if we could convince the enviro-wackos that we can burn pure dirt to power the world. Nahh, shoot, there’s that nasty Carbon Dioxide and Water vapor product thing again.

Still, a dirt-burning auto – the hippies would love it!

16 Todd Rogers 06.12.09 at 12:37 pm

If you told the wackos we could burn hemp and its non-industrial “cousin” for fuel, there might be a more favorable response to combustion as fuel. Just a thought, maaannn.

17 Bill Alexander 06.12.09 at 12:43 pm

A big factor in what gets recycled and what goes into the landfill is how far it has to be trucked to its destination.

18 Dave Lincoln 06.12.09 at 1:44 pm

Bill, you bring up a good point that relates to what my friend brought up. What is the problem with sending the compost to the landfill with everything else going there? I figure, the compost can be used locally, and therefore it would save money over trucking it out to the landfill. On the other hand, it means more complicated pick-up (trash, recycling, and compost separately). I don’t know if this is really the reason, or just the simple thought “we’ve got to save the landfills!”.

There is plenty of room in most areas of the country for landfills until the next ice age or longer. In the metro areas, it does get costly to truck stuff out farther, that’s all. In those areas, the taxes that go to trash hauling ought to reflect this, so that, in a free-market way, people will recycle more to keep the costs down, along the lines of what Bill says above. Weighing trash bins would go a long way toward putting people in this business mode. Course, then you got people like Mojo, who would reek havoc on that system, till he feels the salt in his buttocks. ;-)

19 Dave Lincoln 06.12.09 at 1:54 pm

You’re right, Todd. Hippies are all about hemp. They will tell you all you want to know about the industrial uses, profit margins etc. However, were it to be legal, I kind of doubt any one of their ability to actually become a hemp plant manager, hemp salesman, hemp plant human resources manager, hemp Q/A associate, or any other actual job, for that matter. Well, maybe hemp farmer – on a small organic scale.

Why not just come out and say: We like to smoke pot, and the US government has no business in prohibiting it! I’d have a lot more respect for hippies if I heard that. (well, also, if they wouldn’t always smell live vitamins)

20 Dennis 06.12.09 at 7:46 pm

Bill Alexander:
> A big factor in what gets recycled and what goes into the landfill is
> how far it has to be trucked to its destination.

Transportation is a major cost. If it costs more to “recycle” it than you can earn for it, it’s not going to be recycled. Conversely, if there is money in it, it will be recycled. The scrap value of the material is a pretty good estimate of whether it’s worth the bother to recycle.

Nobody throws away copper, and NOBODY throws away gold.

21 Dave Lincoln 06.12.09 at 11:45 pm

Dang, Dennis, I put the gold in the blue bin with the aluminum cans! Was that wrong?

22 Dirk D 06.13.09 at 12:21 pm

Two Words

Mount Trashmore

23 Dave Lincoln 06.13.09 at 1:44 pm

Great Dirk, did you climb it just “because it’s there”?

How about a real mountain next time, like Mt. Hood or Rainier?

24 Dirk D 06.13.09 at 4:10 pm

I used to sled down it when I was a kid. They banned that a few years back due to …you guessed it… lawsuits.

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