San Francisco is one of the USA’s most famous cities, home to the Golden Gate Bridge and lots of beautiful pastel houses on steep hills. But there is a lot we can learn from this big city (with a population of around 800,000 – the same roughly as Sheffield, Leeds and Bristol). As well as having more walkable communities and numerous parks, it has an excellent public transport system (including trams) and a thriving zero-waste policy, with hardly anything sent for incineration.
The city has innumerable zero-waste shops (unlike here where one or two is the norm per city). There are even zero-waste supermarkets (one has 800 ‘bulk-buy bins for refillable goods). For those who drive, you can join on the many car-sharing clubs (rather than buy a car) and there are even eco-friendly gas stations and women-owned mechanic outlets, specialising in hybrid car repairs.
As well as lots of vegan eateries and nappy laundry services, the city has been pro-active in trying to solve issues that plague most big cities. San Francisco has a big homelessness issue. So rather than just place people in hostels, it is forging ahead with novel ideas. One is its Pit Stop Toilet Program, which provides attractive pastel public bathrooms for homeless people, also offering places to deposit poop (for those with dogs) and needle waste stations, to avoid them being littered on the ground.