Several years ago, the ex-mayor of San Francisco, Edwin Lee proclaimed that San Francisco had achieved an impressive 80 percent diversion rate of waste heading to landfills. According to the press release, “Recycling and composting is not only good for our environment, it is also good for our economy,” said Mayor Lee. ”Recycling alone creates 10 times more jobs than simply sending refuse to the landfill, and I applaud Recology, the Department of Environment and San Franciscans for reaching this record milestone of 80 percent diversion.”
The city of San Francisco is widely regarded as the national leader in the campaign to achieve a zero waste future. The process of achieving an 80 percent landfill diversion rate is testament to the public investment in recycling and compost programs. Furthermore, the city´s waste reduction programs that focus on reuse and repurposing waste is another strategy helping to keep trash out of area landfills. The collective efforts of the city government, local businesses, and every individual citizen in the city of San Francisco is why San Francisco was named the Greenest City in North America and receive a perfect score for resource recovery and recycling category in the 2011 Siemens Green City Index.
Despite these important advances and achievements, a closer look at the city´s waste management programs shows that individuals, homeowners, and business owners continue to generate large amounts of trash that do eventually end up in landfills. In this short article, we take an in-depth look at how the city achieved its 80 percent landfill diversion rate, and how the junk pickup services offered by Junk King of San Francisco can help the city advance even farther on its quest to become America´s first Zero Waste city.
The Number Crunching Needed to Achieve an 80 Percent Landfill Diversion Rate
Let´s start with the well-known figure related to the amount of trash that each and every individual in the United States produces on a daily basis. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average person in the United States produces around 4.4 pounds of trash per day. In the state of California, the average amount of trash produced per person is slightly higher at 4.7 pounds of trash each day (as per 2016 statistics). On a nationwide level, only about one-third of that trash ends up getting recycled, composted reused, or repurposed, meaning that each person is responsible for around 2.9 pounds of trash ending up in landfills or incinerators every day.
One would think that the 80 percent landfill diversion rate for the city of San Francisco would mean that 80 percent of the trash we produce gets either composted or recycled. But´s let´s take a closer look at the numbers.
Firstly, it is important to state that the city of San Francisco has a much higher “per capita waste-generation rate” with an average of 7.5 pounds of waste and recyclables being generated per person per day. That is almost 60 percent more trash per person than the national average. The higher standards of living in the Bay area unfortunately lead to higher levels of consuming, thus putting more stress on the city´s waste management systems.
This might not be a serious problem if 80 percent of that trash did get recycled, reused, or repurposed, which would leave just 1.5 pounds of trash heading to local landfills or incinerators. Unfortunately, that isn’t what happens. San Francisco’s 80 percent diversion rate is actually the product of how the San Francisco Department of Environment counts and calculates the city´s recyclable material. The city certainly does have an impressive program to recycle everyday post-consumer products made from paper, metal, glass, and plastics; as well as an exemplary organic waste composting program. However, to achieve that impressive 80 percent figure, the city includes large quantities of very heavy construction materials such as excavated fill and rubble, which are subsequently reused as infill and road base. Furthermore, the city´s Department of Environment also counts the “recycling” of bio-solids which are applied to agricultural land as part of their diversion total.
Construction and debris (C&D) and bio-solid waste certainly accounts for a major amount of waste that unfortunately continues to accumulate in landfills across the country. C&D debris is actually more than double the amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) on a national level. The fact that the City of San Francisco is making efforts to keep those elements out of landfills should certainly be applauded. However, it is important to understand that the 80 percent diversion rate does NOT mean that 80 percent of municipal solid waste (MSW) is either recycled, reused, or repurposed.
The truth is that due to their higher waste-per-capita generation, San Franciscans send roughly the same quantities of trash to the dump as most other Americans.
What Can be Done to Reduce Your Individual Waste Footprint?
The statistics provided above should make it clear that individuals, homeowners, and business owners in San Francisco can do more to reduce their waste footprints. Besides dutifully separating your recyclables and organics every week when the Recology trucks come to pick up your weekly trash, making an effort to recycle, donate, or repurpose your bulky trash items should also be a high priority.
Junk King of San Francisco offers efficient and affordable junk removal services for residents, homeowners, and business owners of San Francisco. While you could haul your old couch out to the curb and place a “free” sign in hopes that somebody might come and pick it up, chances are that you would be rewarded with a hefty fine before anyone actually removed the thing. San Francisco´s municipal trash service only offers one (and sometime two) free bulk item pickups to individuals every year, and charges businesses a small fee.
If you don’t have a free pickup but are burdened with an enormous amount of junk you need to get rid of, Junk King of San Francisco can help you avoid the headache of self-hauling your old junk to the nearest collection facility. With a simple phone call or text, we can set up a time and date to come and help you get free up space in your home by getting rid of your used furniture items.
Who is Junk King of San Francisco?
Junk King of San Francisco was started back in 2005 out of a garage in San Carlos. Over 15 years later, our business now has eight trucks and serves thousands of customers across the entire city of San Francisco. We have developed close relationships with dozens of recycling centers, thrift stores, non-profit organizations, and other interested parties to make sure that all your used junk is given every opportunity to be donated or recycled, instead of landfilled. In fact, we are able to recycle, donate, or repurpose around 60 percent of the junk that we pick up. We are able to help you get rid of regular trash, construction debris, household junk, yard waste, small and medium sized appliances, e-waste, furniture and virtually anything that is not classified as toxic waste in an environmentally friendly manner.
To hire Junk King of San Francisco, simply call us for a free quotation or send us a text with photos of the items you need removed. We´ll send you a free quote, and once we have agreed upon a price and a two-hour window for pickup, our professional furniture removal staff will send you a text 15-30 minutes before arrival to let you know we´re on our way. We´ll do all the heavy hauling, so you simply have to let us know which pieces of furniture you want to get rid of and we´ll do the rest!
Besides offering the most competitive furniture removal prices on the market, we are also proud to say that our customer service is second to none. We have a 5-star rating on Yelp, with well over 50 reviews and we can also guarantee to beat any written estimate.
How to Contact Junk King San Francisco
Whether you are completely renovating your apartment or simply have some yard waste you need to get rid of, Junk King of San Francisco offers the most reliable, efficient, affordable, and environmentally friendly junk removal service in San Francisco. We are the pioneers of recycling based junk pick up right here in the Bay Area, and can help you reduce your environmental footprint by ensuring that your junk gets every opportunity to be recycled, upcycled, or donated. Give us a call at 1-888-888-JUNK, or book online today!