2% doesn't sound like much, but when you're talking about compost, it turns out that's way, way too much, according to Deborah Rich's article in today's San Francisco Chronicle. Too bad 2% is also the legal standard.
We're lucky here in the Bay Area: in the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco, food scraps are collected along with yard waste. The problem is, as Rich writes, "'It's broken, it's in my yard, must be yard waste,'" seems sometimes to be the attitude." But rusty bicycles and watering cans are easy to pick out; it's the plastic that's a problem.
US standards say that compost can contain up to 2% plastic by area, but, according to an expert quoted in the article, "'two percent plastic in compost is so much plastic that if you spread the compost out on the ground, you would see plastic everywhere.'"
The problem seems to be widespread confusion about what to put in which bin; we are just too used to tossing things out without thinking, as we blogged about yesterday. For proof of that, check out this chart, that ran with the article. Something as simple as getting rid of an object you don't want turns into a multi-step problem... and what's "junk plastic," anyway?
all images and diagram via SF Chronicle