Hugh Pickens writes "After San Francisco enacted the nation's strictest regulations on composting in 2009, the city has increased the amount of food scraps and plant cuttings it composts to more than 600 tons per day, more than any other city in North America, and recently celebrated the collection one million tons of organic materials. Other cities have been watching as Seattle passed a similar mandate in 2010 diverting about 90,000 tons of organic waste from landfills in the first year and New York City is trying to figure out how to implement this type of program for its 8 million residents. The impact is potentially huge in terms of reducing the load on landfills as a study by San Francisco's Department of Environment shows that more than one third of all waste entering landfills could be composted instead. 'We want to see composting be a standard for everybody,' says Michael Virga, executive director of the U.S. Composting Council. 'Urban, suburban, it doesn't really matter where you are.' Although composting initially costs more than land-filling, over the long-term, the benefits will outweigh the costs. 'We can reduce a large source of landfill-generated greenhouse gases, extend the life of our landfill, and generate a valuable resource for the community in the form of premium soil and mulch,' writes Shanon Boase. 'What's more, this industry generates additional jobs.'"
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