B1 Intermediate US 25873 Folder Collection
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LAURA LING: Did you know that the urban waste produced from cities around the world
is enough to fill a line of garbage trucks stretching more than 3,100 miles?
That's a distance from Florida to Washington, every day.
And things are only expected to get worse.
Thankfully, some cities such as San Francisco
are paving the way and trying to change the way we think about trash.
San Francisco plans to become zero waste by 2020,
which is a pretty ambitious but awesome goal.
And this is the main nerve center for all of the city's recyclables.
This is where everything ends up to be sorted and processed.
What is zero waste?
ROBERT REED: It's an idea,
and it means sending next to nothing to landfills or incinerators.
LAURA LING: In 2009, the city passed a law requiring residents and businesses
to sort their waste into recyclables, compostables, and landfill trash.
Recology is the private company that handles it all.
ROBERT REED: When I started at Recology 23 years ago,
the recycling rate was around 38%.
Today we've more than doubled that.
LAURA LING: So far, San Francisco has diverted 80% of its waste away from landfills,
and its success has been getting global attention.
Government representatives from all over the world visit this facility
to learn about how they might be able to replicate what's being done here.
What is the current method of waste management or recycling in your town?
DANIEL ANDERSEN: What we have a lot of in Denmark is actually incineration, where you will burn the waste.
LAURA LING: Do you think that you might implement some of what you've learned here?
DANIEL ANDERSEN: One thing that we have heard about is the value of composting.
We don't do that a lot.
So maybe we will go home and do more composting.
LAURA LING: San Francisco now collects 650 tons of food scraps, yard trimmings,
and other organic waste every day.
That material is brought here to be turned into compost.
ROBERT REED: This is one of the most modern composting facilities in North America.
LAURA LING: OK, so you can see a bunch of stuff here that people have thrown away.
Mostly like wood here.
A shoe, this flip-flop.
ROBERT REED: Yeah.
LAURA LING: What's up with shoes?
[LAUGHTER]
ROBERT REED: Well, there's seven billion people on the planet,
so there's a lot of shoes.
We're in a culture here in California
where people are moving very quickly,
and so people make mistakes.
So we get the things that are not supposed to be here,
we get them removed right away, right at the beginning.
LAURA LING: After the waste is ground up
and screened for plastic and other bits of trash,
the organic matter leftover gets watered and aerated.
A piping system then filters out dangerous greenhouse gases produced by microbes.
In about 60 days, the compost is complete
and sold to local organic farmers and vineyards.
How does composting help the environment?
ROBERT REED: Composting keeps materials out of landfills,
it returns nutrients to farms,
it reduces the production of very potent greenhouse gases,
it attracts and retains water, like rainwater.
LAURA LING: I mean, it smells like hell.
But it's actually very beautiful, what you're describing here.
You know, people's food scraps, which might otherwise be waste,
comes here to essentially feed these farms
and produce new crops.
ROBERT REED: Well, from this facility, more than 300 vineyards have received the compost and applied it to their vineyards.
Farmers are using the compost to grow cover crops that pull carbon out of the atmosphere
and return carbon back to the soil.
This is one of the best things we can do in an effort to slow down climate change.
People have really heard a lot about environmental problems.
They want to hear now a lot more about environmental solutions.
LAURA LING: How much recycling and composting is there in your town?
Let us know in the comments below.
And be sure to watch this next episode
about a woman who already lives a zero-waste lifestyle.
LAUREN SINGER: Two years of trash in this tiny little jar.
My values are having a really low environmental impact.
I have to live like I want that, and so that's why I decided to change my lifestyle.
LAURA LING: Thanks for watching, and please subscribe to "Seeker Stories" to see new videos every week.
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How San Francisco Is Becoming A Zero Waste City

25873 Folder Collection
羅世康 published on August 14, 2017    羅世康 translated    Sally Hsu reviewed
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