How To Compost Without Using Bio-Bags

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In San Francisco, we are required, by law, to compost. We are required to have three bins - black, blue, and green. The black bin is for non-organic garbage that goes to landfill. The blue bin is for all recyclable stuff. The green bin is for biodegradable wastes like foods, plants, and paper. Every Wednesday morning, we haul all three bins outside for the garbage collector and compost collector.



The city has a pretty audacious goal - to reduce 75% of garbage wastes that go to landfill by this year and eliminate 100% of garbage waste by 2020. It's a goal the city will aggressively work towards to achieve because it's projected that we will max out the capacity at our current landfill by 2014. I'm not sure how we will achieve the zero waste goal by 2020. I guess in a year or two, they'll take away the black bin so we might be required to sort everything. In the meantime, if we don't comply with the composting law, the fine is $100 for single homes and small businesses and up to $1,000 for large businesses, condos and apartment buildings. If the garbage collectors find that you put, say food, in the black bin, you'll get a note reminding you to compost. If they find again that you're not sorting your garbage properly, you get a letter then a phone call. After the phone call is a fine for repeat offenders.

While I support the city's goals to reduce wastes going to landfills, it is not cheap to compost! We were given these green compost baskets last year by the city. You need to use biodegradable bags with the basket. A box of  25 bags costs about $5.50. A bag holds two days worth of kitchen scraps for me.




I was at family dinner with relatives recently and I saw my aunt wrapping her kitchen scraps with newspapers. She uses a brown paper bag instead of the compost basket. I didn't know you could do that! So all this time, I'm spending money buying bags when I could have just wrapped my food garbage with newspapers or paper grocery bags. I had just begun wrapping my compost garbage with newspaper and brown bags.


Just curious, does your city require residences to recycle and compost?


Sources: New Rules Project, SF Examiner
Photo credit: SF Recology

25 comments:

Buckeroomama said...

I think that's a very good initiative. We are not required to compost here. Sorting stuff for recycling is "recommended" but not required by law. I think the government here needs to step it up on this over here.

Janie B said...

No, but it would be a smart idea. We do have curbside recycling, so maybe someday we'll have compost, too.

Priscilla said...

I think this is a very good initiative. I suppose it's a lot of work, but we don't have much choice since we're using up all the landfills. Here in Malaysia, we are eons behind. The awareness to recycle is in its infancy stages. Some states have only just started not giving out free plastic bags for grocery shopping. Hope we'll get to where you guys are soon! :)

ModernMom said...

We aren't required to step up like this yet, but I see it in our future!!

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

I look your way to see the trends that might affect us in about 20 years. We're far behind. Maybe 20 years is optimistic.

CaptainRunner said...

Well, I hope this could also be imposed here in our country. We were facing a very big problem in terms of our garbage.

Veronica Lee said...

We aren't required to compost here as Priscilla has mentioned but I sure hope our government will step it up soon.

Happy Thursday, Rosebelle. I really do appreciate your daily visits to my blog. You're the sweetest!!!

Ummie said...

Agree with Priscilla.

Jen said...

I live in an apartment complex and everything goes in the dumpster. The company that owns the dumpster has workers who sort out the recyclables, but I don't think they compost.

That's a lot of food scraps!

Autumn Belle said...

In my city, there are no requirements to do this yet. I have already practised sorting my garbage but the city hall engage private companies to collect the rubbish. Some of them separate the rubbish during the collection process while some just dump everything into the truck! The most shocking for me is to see hawkers throwing leftover food directly into the drains while contractors throwing paints, chemicals, thinners directly into the drains too without a care in the world.

RoseBelle, I have sent you an email and I need your reply :)

Lazy Pineapple said...

Yes we need to recycle too..though it is not so strict as in your city.
My mother in India has been making compost since I was a child...she just throws all the kitchen scraps in a huge hole at the corner of her garden and then keeps mixing soil with it to make natural fertiliser...and believe me the results of using that compost are fantastic for plants.

Serline said...

Bangkok is probably one of the most high consuming low conserving cities in the region, if not the world. We try our best and have our own little recycling bin; our part-time domestic helper does the rest by selling the usable stuff. She was proud to declare last month she received THB 200 for the stuff from our place. No garden here, so my composting days are behind me. I used to when we lived in a house in Phuket...

Mr. Stupid said...

This is a great initiative. This way, I am sure it'll work out. Though, the inclusion of fines makes it all a forceful act. I feel, we as the people should do it voluntarily.
Have a nice day...:)

Meldylocks and Her Three Bears said...

Nope, here in Malaysia we are not require to do that yet but I feel it is a matter of sooner or later.

levian said...

no, ours doesn't require it. but in a long run, i think it is good to compost. i suppose their intention, though troublesome, are still good. :)

I'm a full-time mummy said...

Hi RoseBelle!

Thanks for dropping by my blog earlier and for your compliments on Ben! :)

So far we've only managed to go to the park twice in total. Hope we could do more - it was a great and fun way to spend a nice evening! :D

Btw, here in Malaysia its more common to see the 3 colored bins at major shopping malls, not in the common housing areas :(

CVmom said...

I compost with newspaper and only use biobags for wet foods. I think what SF is doing is great. A little troublesome for us but in the long run, it's so great for the environment.

Icy BC said...

It would be interesting to see how we will have no garbage at all. I think SF is the leading city in enforcing this law. We're recycling, but not at all like yours.

TK said...

I would support anything which would benefit mother earth. Unfortunately, in our country the government is not really concern about the environment. We dont really practice recycling actually and we use lots and lots of plastic bags!

TK said...

I would support anything which would benefit mother earth. Unfortunately, in our country the government is not really concern about the environment. We dont really practice recycling actually and we use lots and lots of plastic bags!

Dora said...

I guess if this one is to be executed in our country, I'm sure it must be the biggest failure!

Alicia said...

Oh wow, I didn't know it was a law there! We have the recycle bin, but it's not required. I won't be surprised when it has to be!

Poetic Shutterbug said...

I live in SF and I think this was a good idea. However, we never received the bags for our compost bins. I'll have to call Sunset Scavenger and check that out.

Gina F said...

We aren't required to compost here. I think that is great that SF does. I think we all need to do this to have a better environment. We all should start caring for the world we live in and make a BIG change.

Gina
motherof1princessand2princes.blogspot.com

Simply Life said...

oh this is great to know!