S.F. to raise bar on recycling goal

Daily Planet Wire Service
Monday September 30, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO – Now that San Francisco is close recycling 50 percent of its waste, environmentalists say they are hoping the Board of Supervisors will raise the official goal on Monday to 75 percent. 

The San Francisco Health Commission has already backed meeting the higher standard by 2010, according to Mark Westlund of the city's Environment Department. If the supervisors agree as expected, he said San Francisco is likely to keep moving ahead to become the first city in the nation to create a timeline to get to zero waste as soon as possible. 

Westlund said San Francisco's recycling program has been among the most successful around, currently reaching the 46-percent mark for recycling with a predicted arrival at 50 percent or better by the end of the year. That is the state-mandated level currently. 

But Jared Blumenfield, who heads the Environment Department, points out that even with 50 percent recycling the amount of garbage that goes into landfill each year is about 800,000 tons – the equivalent weight of the Golden Gate Bridge.