What could be greener than a farmers’ market with fresh produce going straight to the consumer? Well, even a farmers’ market makes some environmental impact, and the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is looking to reduce its waste footprint. According to the weekly e-newsletter:
On Saturdays … more than one hundred 45-gallon garbage bags are filled with food scraps, plastic water bottles, coffee cups, paper plates, packaging, soda cans and other discarded things, all of which eventually end up in the landfill. And that’s just at the market; it doesn’t include packaging and plastic bags. Over the course of the year, our sellers distribute over 1,000,000 plastic bags, most of which are not ultimately reused or recycled.
To combat this waste problem, the Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), which manages the market, is implementing a Waste Wise program. In the works since January, this program aims to reduce the use of plastic bags, coffee cups, and other food containers. It will encourage compostables and recyclable packaging, and will set up seven monitored waste stations (yes, all sorting will be supervised and approved). As the newsletter explains, “Monitors ensure that shoppers sort their throw-aways into the right bin. Otherwise, contamination occurs, which can mean that a whole bin of recycling or compost has to go to the landfill.”
The program will go fully online with a celebration in late April, to coincide with Earth Day, but CUESA is looking for volunteers and sponsors now. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.