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Making a Big Dent in Landfill Waste

Composting has become a way of life for San Francisco residents since the city passed a law last year requiring residents and businesses to place food scraps into designated bins. The food waste is turned into compost and sold to area farms and vineyards.

“This is probably the strongest recycling and composting law in the country,” says Kevin Drew, residential and special projects zero waste coordinator for the city.

Older residents and senior centers have been enthusiastic about the program, according to city officials.

Before the program, San Francisco was eliminating 73 percent of all landfill waste. The goal is zero waste by 2020.

Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Dubuque, Iowa, have similar programs. But only San Francisco levies a fine—as much as $100—for noncompliance.

Tauren Dyson is an intern at the AARP Bulletin.

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