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Bayview Greenwaste provides fertile ground for San Francisco’s urban agriculture revolution

Hayes Valley Farm is flourishing where a freeway ramp used to be. (Photo by Zoey Kroll.) Just a few years ago, they were abandoned freeways, dilapidated back yards, and institutional dumping grounds. But today, thanks to San Francisco's urban agriculture renaissance, many of these pockets of underutilized land are being transformed. And one local company -- Bayview Greenwaste -- is playing a key role, by transforming waste into mulch, and giving it away. The city's largest agricultural experiment to date may be the Hayes Valley Farm, which is growing on the former site of a freeway ramp. The ramp was …

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The city that said no to garbage

If you want to keep garbage out of landfills, you have to stop thinking about it as garbage. Instead, think of it as resources. If you’re throwing away the part of that veggie burger you couldn’t finish, you’re throwing away potential compost for the vineyard that’s growing grapes for the bottle of wine you’ll drink with your next meal. This is how Jack Macy thinks. He developed San Francisco’s trailblazing composting program and is currently Zero Waste Coordinator for the city. Here, he shares the city’s secrets to success. Q. What makes San Francisco's waste management unique? A. We have …

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San Francisco watches its waste line

Bales of plastic are collected at Recology’s Pier 96 facility.Photo: Walter ParenteauGarbage: it's gross, it stinks, and all anyone wants is to be rid of it. For most cities, that means sending thousands of tons of unwanted flotsam and jetsam to landfills every day. But in San Francisco, garbage is treated like a resource that shouldn't be wasted. And that means formulating a plan to reduce the city's garbage output to zero. Yes, that's right: zero. Sound impossible? Well, thanks to the country's toughest mandatory recycling and composting laws, the amount of refuse that San Francisco diverts to recycling and …

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Water treatment plant yields gourmet drug-infused seasoning!

California's new gold rush has prospectors back in the water, but they're not panning for metals. This time, it's all about recycling the painkillers, steroids, and mood stabilizers in South San Francisco Bay. Alviso's Medicinal All-Salt may look like ordinary table salt, but it has a little extra pharmaceutical kick. Exactly which drugs are present is somewhat unknowable, even to those selling the product, since it depends on which ones happen to have been recently flushed down local toilets. That mysterious grab-bag aspect is all part of the fun -- unless of course, you happen to get a batch infused …

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