San Francisco supervisor's plan to reduce waste in landfills

A City of San Francisco supervisor has proposed a plan to help reduce the waste sent to landfills to zero. 

In the proposal, companies that produce more than 40 cubic yards of trash per week, would be audited to make sure they are recycling their trash. 

“At the end of the day what we’re really thinking about is all of our waste goes to landfill. There’s a finite amount of space in our landfill,” said Ahsha Safai, the city supervisor who introduced the plan. 

Businesses found not to be separating recycles from actual trash could end up being fined $1,000 per day, following an audit which resulted in non-compliance. 

“We’re talking about large offices building, hospitals, hotels, universities, large apartment buildings, 500 units or more,” Safai said. 

Pete Sittnick, managing partner of Waterbar and Epic Restaurant along The Embarcadero agrees that everything should be done to reduce the amount of trash in San Francisco landfills, but he’s not happy 
with the penalties under a proposal from a city supervisor to do that. 

“The intent is going in the right direction. This is definitely something that we all need to be concerned about doing our best to sort or refuse,” said Sittnick. “It just doesn’t make sense. Restaurants operate on really thin margins so just having one employee to sort trash is going to be a hardship.”

Sittnick says his restaurants already do their part in trying to reduce trash by separating out recyclables.

“I do understand the need and we do our best. We’re very diligent about sorting or refuse because given the thin margins that we operate on, we can’t afford any fines.”

For his part, Supervisor Safai says there is a long-term net benefit tied to the proposal that he has introduced. 

“Having people to sort it on side ultimately, significantly impacts what we divert from landfill. It saves money.”

More than 400 businesses in the city would be affected by this changes, Safai told KTVU and among that number there are 14 restaurants impacted by the change. 

On November 1, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on the proposal.