On the first day of San Francisco’s new mandatory recycling and composting law, its business as usual for several coffee shops and restaurants.
“We were the first in the city,” says owner Phil Jaber from behind the counter of the bustling Phil’z Coffee at 24th and Folsom streets.
The new law, passed on Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors, requires businesses and individuals to sort their trash into three bins, for recyclables, landfill trash and compostables. Failure to do so could eventually result in fines ranging from $100 for individuals to as much as $500 or $1000 for businesses. It is the latest in several laws that make San Francisco’s recycling rules one of the strictest in the country.
Inside Phil’z, handwritten instructions taped to the lids of the trash bins remind customers that their cups, napkins and food waste go in the green compost bin, while the black coffee lids go in the blue recycling bin.
“To talk about it is easy.” Jaber said, “I want to be a role model for the community.”
Many other businesses in San Francisco already have composting practices in place, and feel ready. Robert Reed, a spokesperson for Recology-Sunset Scavenger, who conducts the city’s recycling program, said that a successful outreach program has led to an increase in the amount of trash composted over the past 12 months — from 400 to 500 tons per day.
Cecilia Baez, a manager at Papalote’s on 24th Street said they leave it up to their dishwasher to ensure trash winds up in the right bin, and feels confident they’re ready for the new law.
At Chavitas #2, also on 24th Street, Yesenia Quezada said that while the small restaurant already separates its own trash, they might have some issues with the small trash bin on the sidewalk outside their door, since any passer-by can drop their trash in, and no one wants to sort through it.
Meanwhile, at Anthony’s Cookie’s on Valencia Street, a green bin sat by the back door, which employee Jessica Che says arrived a few weeks ago, in time for the new law.
For anyone that doesn’t comply, Jaber says, “fine them, let them learn.”
Residents and businesses can order green composting bins from the Recology-Sunset Scavenger website here.