Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So what's the deal with this trash thing?

Hell, I don't know, I don't live in city limits.

For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, San Francisco finally got set up to compost food waste, and in typical San Francisco fashion they're doing this draconian over the top approach where if you get caught putting food waste in your garbage you can be fined big bucks.

City composting of food waste is great. We've had it since 2002 here. You chuck all of your leftovers, yard waste, pizza boxes - pretty much anything biodegradable - into a giant green bin and the city takes it away every week. They use some of it in city parks, and sell some of it to landscaping companies, and they give some of it back to residents who could use some free compost. Works great, and since we also have a big blue bin where you can pitch anything even vaguely recyclable (they sort it out on their end), that also leaves a pathetic little grey bin for actual garbage. It's all voluntary and I think most people are pretty good about it because you can have as many blue and green bins as you want but the grey ones are expensive if you want to upgrade to a larger size.

But throw a banana peel in the garbage bin in San Francisco and it's a $100 fine. And of course they haven't even considered the practical issues - even if you don't believe people will try to screw unpleasant neighbors by putting greenwaste in their garbage bins (maybe leave a bit hanging out so the garbage guys will see it) what if there's some tourist who is walking down the street and throws something in your bin that doesn't belong? Sorry, that'll be $100.

And they wonder why everybody moved to the suburbs...

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