San Francisco announces Zero Waste Community Council in Chinatown

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (Foto: ©wattwurm25 /

San Francisco, USA – Announcing the formation of the first Zero Waste Community Council in Chinatown, Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Julie Christensen joined the San Francisco Department of the Environment. “San Francisco’s local businesses and residents are showing the nation that composting and recycling are easy, good for the environment and good for our economy,” underlined Ed Lee. “If we are going to achieve our goal of Zero Waste by 2020, we need to build on our past successes with even more ideas and a renewed commitment and focused on bringing together our entire City as stewards of the environment.” 

To better understand barriers and challenges

According to its Department of the Environment, San Francisco continues to be a world leader in waste reduction and waste diversion from landfill. But in order for the city to meet its 2020 goal of zero waste, it must continue to develop new programs and expand community outreach. San Francisco’s past successes have come from leadership and innovation at the neighborhood level. In an effort to continue engagement with the community leaders, the Department of the Environment with Supervisor Christensen is launching the first Zero Waste Community Council in Chinatown. The goal of the Community Council is to support the Department and Recology, the City’s waste services provider, in creating programming that encourages greater participation.

“By creating a Community Council made up of a variety of community and business leaders, City staff and partners, we can better understand barriers and challenges, create or adjust existing programs and increase overall engagement around the issue of zero waste,” explained Supervisor Julie Christensen.

A great opportunity for the city

The selection of Chinatown as the pilot for the initial Zero Waste Community Council is important on two fronts. First, the density of housing and diversity of retail provide a wide range of needs and challenges. With over 32,000 residents and 600 storefronts, Chinatown is one of the densest and most diverse neighborhoods in the City. By better understanding the barriers and opportunities here, we can start to understand how to make our programs better citywide.

Second, Chinatown business, residents and community leaders actively share a deep passion for the environment. In 2014, the Department and Recology launched the “Turn Food into Gold” campaign that recognizes the importance and symbolism of food in Chinese culture. This campaign focused on supporting composting participation in Chinatown restaurants. The campaign was hugely successful, based in large part on the culturally competent messaging and support services. The department hopes that the Community Council will build on this success.

Building a cleaner and greener city

“In Mayor Lee’s State of the City address, he challenged the Department and Commission on the Environment to ensure that our programs and services benefit all San Franciscans and that all of our diverse communities and neighborhoods share in the benefits of building a cleaner and greener City,” said Joshua Arce, San Francisco Environment Commission President. “The Zero Waste Community Council is an effective way to bring new faces into San Francisco’s environmental movement.”

The Community Council will meet four times over the next eight months to discuss challenges and opportunities for Chinatown residents and businesses to lead the way toward achieving our Zero Waste 2020 goal. Each meeting will be focused on a particular issue, driven by existing data analysis on the neighborhood’s environmental performance. Members will be recruited with the assistance of the Commission on the Environment, Recology, the San Francisco Foundation and Supervisor Christensen’s office.

Source: San Francisco Department of the Environment