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Food diversion

(article, Caroline Cummins)

Recycling? Yeah, yeah, paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass. But what about food?

Sure, you can compost lots of food scraps, so long as they aren't soiled with animal products or oil. But not everybody bothers to compost (or has the space to do so). So what's a municipality with overflowing landfills to do?

Yesterday the city of Seattle announced a plan to force residents to recycle food scraps. The plan, which goes into effect in 2009, makes food-waste recycling mandatory for single-family homes and voluntary for apartments and businesses.

"By 2025, the \[city]\ council hopes, the city will divert 72 percent of its garbage from the landfill," reported the Seattle Times. Nice idea, but the paper also pointed out that those businesses given a voluntary out "produce twice as much food waste as residents." The council also "declined to ban Styrofoam and plastic garbage bags." Bummer.

Other municipalities and ports have tried to catch the food-recycling train, including the California city of San Leandro and the airports for Portland, Oregon, and Oakland, California. 

The San Leandro program expanded in 2005 from residents-only to include restaurants. And across the Bay, restaurants in San Francisco can participate in a recycling program called Four Course Compost. Which means you can supplement your garden with compost that originated at such tony joints as Boulevard and Jardinière.