Sort it, or else

Recycling services are all well and fine, but only if people take the time to sort out their trash.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is proposing that residents in that city face fines of up to $1,000 and the potential to have their garbage service stopped if they fail to sort their recyclables. That means not only separating glass from plastic, but also making sure compostable items like salad leftovers and coffee grounds are separated into the proper bin. Newsom plans to bring the proposal before the Board of Supervisors next month. The plan would be the country’s first mandatory recycling and composting law.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the proposal aims to limit the amount of food and plant matter that goes into the landfill in Alameda County where it decomposes to form methane, a greenhouse gas. “It will also help San Francisco, which city officials say currently diverts 70 percent of its waste from landfills, achieve a goal set by the Board of Supervisors to divert 75 percent by 2010 and have zero waste by 2020,” the article reports.