SFCED | San Francisco Center for Economic Development


San Francisco, ‘the Silicon Valley of Recycling’

…read about the efforts the city is making towards the environment, working towards its goal of zero waste by 2020. San Francisco now diverts around 80 percent of waste away from landfills, putting it among the elite cities. Other cities have also followed San Francisco’s footsteps, adopting the recycling model to their countries or cities. Paris’ deputy mayor, Mao Peninou, visited the Recology plant in October 2014 and has started to use Recology’s composting as a proof-of-concept for new Parisian efforts. 

Robert Reed, who is enjoying a surprising career turn as a busy tour guide at the latest hot spot here, stood smiling one recent sunny morning before 10 foreign dignitaries and journalists. They included the mayor of Genoa, Italy, and the general consuls from Italy, Canada and Switzerland.

Each visitor wore a sport coat and tie, and a yellow safety vest to ensure they wouldn’t be run down by garbage trucks.

“It’s always nice to meet new friends from around the world,” Mr. Reed said in his introduction, beaming. “In fact, we’ve had visitors from 58 countries.” Behind him stood a warehouse filled with a 630-ton mountain of refuse being pecked by sea gulls. “Come on,” Mr. Reed continued, “I’ll show you the bottles, cans and paper.”

You won’t find San Francisco’s Pier 96 in any travel guidebook but it has become a must-see destination for visitors from Afghanistan to Vietnam.

Read more: New York Times San Francisco, ‘the Silicon Valley of Recycling

SF the Silicon Valley of Recycling