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Seattle Says Yes to Compost, Yes to Bees

Resolution bans "neonics" in city; ordinance encourages reduction of food waste

Thanks, Seattle!  (Photo:  Ingrid Taylar)

The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously passed an ordinance that could lead to more composting and less food waste in the city.

Under the ordinance, which updates the current municipal code, starting next year businesses will be fined $50 and homeowners $1 per collection if they put compostable food waste or compostable paper products into the trash.

The aim of the ordinance is to help the city reach its adopted recycling goals of 60% in 2015 and 70% in 2022.

"If we just get ourselves into the mindset of, OK, we're going to recycle our bottles, our papers, our cans, just as we've been doing for the past 25 years, and now we're going to compost the stuff in your kitchen, really easy to reduce the amount of stuff that's going to a landfill," said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who sponsored the measure.

In another green move, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution to ban the use of neonicotinoids—a class of pesticides linked to the decline of bees—within the city.

The resolution also expressed support for a national moratorium on neonicotinoids.

Environmental groups cheered the resolution, with the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides tweeting:

The Central Co-op and Seattle Sierra Club, which had led the campaign for the resolution's passage, welcomed the news as well.

"It's a small but meaningful step in the growing worldwide movement for pollinators, which are extremely important for agricultural production and for ecosystem health," stated Webster Walker, Central Co-op’s community outreach administrator who testified in support of the measure. "We look forward to further steps from the city to make Seattle the bee-friendliest city in the USA."

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