Best practice: San Francisco
In recent years San Francisco (below) has achieved the highest recycling rate of any major city in Canada or the US, diverting 80 per cent of its waste away from landfill. Beginning with a range of new recycling laws put in place in 2009, San Francisco residents are required to separate recyclables, compostables and landfill rubbish, and building design rules ensure proper space is allowed for recycling collection in new buildings. The city has also banned the use of plastic bags and non-recyclable styrofoam-type containers in shops and restaurants. It has added a 20c ‘litter tax’ to the price of a packet of cigarettes and banned Yellow Pages from delivering their books unless residents have explicitly opted in to the service. Bottled water is no longer purchased by any of San Francisco’s city departments and the authority’s procurement rules now strongly favour recycled products as the first choice for local authority purchases.