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Trash Talk with DNA

We'll be hosting three garbage gurus at the July 13 DNA meeting to answer all of our burning questions about the current state of domestic recycling, composting and what we can do to help reduce waste streams, both at home and on our streets.

Below are three articles about composting and it's 25 year history in San Francisco, provided by Robert Reed who will join us from Recology.

Seven simple things we can do to be better recyclers and make less trash:

1. Empty cans, bottles, and containers before recycling. It keeps paper in recycling bins drier so more can be recycled. Hire-quality paper bales generate revenue that helps pay for curbside collection programs. Those economics benefit everyone.

2. Compost all food scraps. It returns nutrients to local farms that, in turn grow healthy food that comes to our tables. Farmers use compost to grow cover crops that pull carbon out of the air and return it to the soil where it belongs.

3. Keep it loose. Put recycling items in the blue bin loose, do not use a plastic bag.

4. Carry a metal water bottle. Doing so can save you more than $200 a year.

5. Carry a reusable travel mug. We don’t need single-use coffee cups, and some coffee shops offer discounts to customers who bring their own mug.

6. Use canvas bags when shopping. 1 million plastic bags are used every minute worldwide. Most end up in the oceans and endanger wildlife.

7. Be Better At The Bin. Recyclables go in the blue bin. Food scraps and yard waste go in the green. Very little should go in the black landfill bin. It benefits us all.

12 Reasons to Compost

San Francisco’s curbside composting collection program for food scraps and yard trimmings:

2. Returns nutrients and minerals to farms to help keep soils fertile.

3. Promotes microbial activity in topsoil. That switches on the life web in soil, making micronutrients available to plant roots and discourages diseases.

4. Supports bee populations. Farms, vineyards, and orchards use compost to grow flowering plants and trees that help bees thrive. One out of every three bites of food we eat – everything from fruits to nuts to vegetables – is dependent on bees for pollination.

5. Helps protect precious topsoil on farms, vineyards, and orchards from erosion.

6. Saves farms tremendous amounts of water. That is because quality compost is 50 percent humus by weight. The humus and organic matter in compost are natural sponges that attract and retain moisture.

7. Sequesters carbon deep in the soil, especially when used to grow cover crops that shade topsoil and increase photosynthesis.

8. Creates three times more jobs than landfilling.

9. Helps cities make significant progress toward achieving Zero Waste.

10.Improves recycling programs. When food scraps are collected separately, they don’t come in contact with recycled paper. That helps cities produce higher-quality bales of recycled paper. Paper mills now demand finished bales have 1 percent or less impurities.

11.Reduces fire risk. Compost holds moisture from rain and irrigation in topsoil. “Where plants are green and soil is moist, fire has nothing to feed on,” says Matthew Engelhart of Be Love Farm, Solano County, California. (See the story attached and photos below showing how applying compost helped save Be Love Farm from devastating fire on August 19, 2020.)

12. Helps farms grow higher quality fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fine wines. Healthy soil equals healthy plants. Healthy plants equal healthy people. Bon appétit!

Robert Reed (415) 606 9183

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