Solid waste such as garbage and recyclable material are by-products of most human activities, including operations at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. As a steward of the environment, the park is responsible for preserving and protecting resources for future generations. In 2012, Golden Gate's waste management strategy led to diversion of over half (55 percent) of its total solid waste from landfills. As of 2017, our five-year average waste diversion rate is 45%.
One way the park decreases its solid waste is by recycling as much material as possible. Traditional items made from paper, glass, or plastic are recycled, as well as other universal waste items such as batteries, light bulbs, consumer electronics, etc. Recycling decreases solid waste heading to the landfill and contributes to products containing recycled materials, which the park buys through its green purchasing program. Goods manufactured from recycled materials typically require less energy to make than those using virgin materials, thus decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Another way Golden Gate diverts solid waste from landfills is by composting biodegradable material such as food waste and most paper products. The breakdown of any biodegradable waste inside a landfill is prevented by the lack of air and moisture inside the fill. Waste composting allows critical nutrients to return to the soil. National Park Service buildings are equipped with compost, recycle, and landfill bins for staff use.
Visitors to the Land's End Lookout, Crissy Field, or Muir Woods visitor centers can use compost, recycle, and landfill bins at those locations. Golden Gate is working to provide additional separated waste bins throughout the park.
Explore helpful links about diverting solid waste at our sustainability resources page.
Watch a short video about Golden Gate's composting efforts here.
CLICK HERE to return to the main sustainability page
Last updated: April 17, 2017