San Francisco Loves to Smell Its Own Compost

Report should quiet complaints about compost toxicity

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010  |  Updated 4:00 PM PDT
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Fashionably Green

Hayes Valley Farm on Flickr

There's no compost like free compost when you're trying to grow on San Francisco's notoriously sandy soil.

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After complaints about the city giving away free compost that mixes vegetable matter with the solid waste from water treatment plants and then lets it ferment into black gold for gardeners, the Public Utilities Commission did a study.

It compared the level of potential toxins in its product against those from commercial compositors, and found that it was as good or better than any similar products on the market.

A total of 127 organic toxins, inorganic toxins and compounds, it found that all levels met state and federal standards.

However, that won't quiet down the program's detractors.

"This study still needs to be analyzed by our science people, but our contention is that there is nothing new here," Food Rights Network's John Mayer told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We don't think the stuff in the stores that has sludge in it should be used for growing food either."

If, however, you are the type to buy bagged compost at the local garden shop, then just save some money and get the free s**t.

Jackson West would love to have a place to spread out some of San Francisco's black gold to plant flowers and vegetables.

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