In the News

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San Francisco celebrates composting achievements

San Francisco diverts 78 percent of all waste generated in the city away from landfill disposal through source reduction, reuse, and recycling and composting programs. By working together, the City, Recology and the San Francisco Department of Environment have been able to provide some of the most innovative and advanced waste reduction programs in the country. These programs have landed San Francisco the honor of being named the Greenest City in North America and a perfect score for resource recovery and recycling category in the 2011 Siemens Green City Index. The City’s easy-to-use, readily available programs such as the curbside green bin program are shaping the country’s approach to waste.

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A food garden grows at the site of the future Muslim Community Center in North Portland

On a recent Saturday, a vacant lot on North Vancouver Avenue between Killingsworth and Emerson streets is crowded with people. There’s a grill going and people load up their plates with food while others dig, carry topsoil and push heavy wheelbarrows.

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Mayor Ed Lee Celebrates City Composting Achievements

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced San Francisco reached a major environmental milestone last November having collected a million tons of compostable material through Recology’s green bin program, and today, the millionth ton returns to San Francisco to be applied as nutrient-rich compost to fertilize gardens and grow healthy, organic foods.

"San Francisco is leading the way in sustainability policy and this composting achievement is another reason why we are the "Greenest City in North America," said Mayor Lee. "Recology has been a leading partner for our composting efforts and this is the ultimate full-circle moment in sustainability. Thanks to local community farmers, especially those who volunteer at Alemany Farm, for providing healthy food to our communities, fostering environmental education and promoting green jobs."

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The Urban Quest for "Zero Waste"

Across the country, a handful of municipalities are radically reducing the amount of refuse they send to landfills, with the eventual goal of reaching "zero waste." Seattle recycles or composts more than half of what its residents toss out. San Francisco diverts 77% of its waste from landfills. Even sprawling Los Angeles recycles or composts about two-thirds of its garbage.

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San Francisco's Utopic Dump: Visual Artists Remake City's Trash into Treasure

In their book, Cradle to Cradle, authors William McDonough and Michael Braungart lament the one-way, cradle-to-grave model of our industrial system. The detritus in our landfills—upholstery, old furniture, computers, paper and food—is the end of the road for products made from material "that required effort and expense to extract and make, billions of dollars’ worth of material assets." Yet once they’re in the landfill, the materials’ value goes to waste.

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What We Save Together

In 2001 and 2002 San Francisco upgraded the city's curbside recycling program by giving people larger blue bins and by adding green bins for food scraps and plants.

How much material has San Francisco recycled in 10 years through the curbside recycling and composting program provided by Recology?

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Recycling Supervisor's Idea Becomes Citywide Program for Social Good in S.F.

David Nanney, a supervisor at Recycle Central, the recycling plant Recology operates in San Francisco to sort bottles, cans, and paper, noticed the occasional BART ticket moving across a set of screens inside the plant.

BART riders often have multiple tickets with remaining value and some people toss them in their recycle bin. But because the tickets are made of a very thin plastic and are lightweight they present a unique challenge inside the plant.

At Nanney's suggestion, plant management enlisted the help of the recycling sorters to watch for the occasional BART ticket and toss them in special collection boxes.

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Small Puppy, Named Gem by Recology Workers, Inspires Outpouring of Community Love

Recology PuppyThousands of people are hearing about the story of Gem, the puppy that recycling workers, Gregory Foster and Arturo Pena, pulled off a conveyor belt carrying wood, metal, concrete, and other construction debris. Somehow, the pup survived: being put in a plastic garbage bag, trucked to the dump in a big metal debris box, piled up with tons of construction debris, scooped up by a tractor, and run across pounding shaker screens.

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Recology Celebrates Five Year Milestones

Five years ago, on April 27, 2009, Norcal Waste Systems was rebranded as Recology. Why the name change? Well, it's because the new name more accurately reflects who we are today and where we see ourselves in the future.

The company's new name is deeply rooted in its heritage dating back over 90 years ago as one of the nation's first urban recyclers.  Recology, with its name clearly associated with the words recycling, renewal, reuse and reduction, intends to lead the evolution of the industry by eliminating waste from the vocabulary of consumers and municipalities alike.

Our name, Recology, continues to support our vision to see a world without waste and to follow our mission to build exceptional resource ecosystems in the communities we serve.

Read the complete story on our blog.

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Reducing Food Waste from the Source

We first turned our attention to food waste in 1996 when Recology implemented a food scraps collection program in San Francisco. Still in use today, the green bin program ensures that organic material, such as food scraps and yard trimmings, do not end up in landfills. Many other Recology companies and cities have implemented similar programs, including San Mateo County and San Bruno. You can learn more about the affects of landfilling organics here: US Composting Council - Keeping Organics out of Landfills.

Although we think it's important to recycle food scraps when possible, we think it's just as important to consider ways to reduce food waste altogether.

Read the complete story on our blog.

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